Album: No Front Teeth – EP
Pulverized. Bloodied, bruised, battered and broken. You are but a shattered shell, cracked open at the head and left for your innards to leak, slowly onto the sidewalk. You are hollow. And if you aren’t now, you will be after Drifted are done with you. Twenty-five minutes of soul-scorching bitterness, No Front Teeth couldn’t be truer to its name. Drifted attack the listener with a diverse dynamo of devastating breakdowns, low-down-and-dirty grooves and lacerating blast beats to paint a comprehensive cornucopia of crushing heaviness. These Exeter-based executioners use every weapon in the genre’s expansive arsenal to ensure that by the time the release is finished, the listener is truly left with No Front Teeth.
Drifted kick off their debut EP with a swift and deft blow to the listener’s jaw—drowning the listener in a dense, thick pool of oppressive, in-your-face instrumentation. “Healer” is, in reality, anything but: as it begins with vocalist Harry Davies’ intense, gritty bellow and a sludgy, down-tempo combination of crushing chugs and ear splitting squeals. Truly, what “Healer” does for No Front Teeth is marvelous—as it showcases the incredibly broad range of instrumentation and vocals that the EP has to offer in less than three minutes. Before the track is done, the listener will have been subjected to guitarists Jay Tidmarsh and Corey Miller’s salvo of skin-peeling fretwork, as well as Ben Hampshire’s pummeling, jaw-shattering percussion. Flowing from gritty, down-tempo heaviness to technically marvelous deathcore and ending in deceptively-djenty groove, “Healer” provides a sinister synopsis for Drifter’s debut. Furthermore, each one of these excellent edifices of the band’s multifaceted talent is expanded upon in the following tracks, giving each “kind” of Drifted its own time to shine.
Let’s be honest—if you’re giving Drifted the time of day, chances are, you came for heaviness—nothing more, nothing less. Fortunately, you will certainly get more than you bargained for, as No Front Teeth has so much more to offer than mindless chugging and errant brutality. Tracks like the dynamic and intense “No Front Teeth” and the melodic, entrancing “Born into Servitude” both show unusual sides of the band that one might not expect from “Healer” and its no-holds-barred heaviness. The EP’s title track begins with technical perfection—a delicious combination of furiously fretted riffs (courtesy of Tidmarsh and Miller’s mastery) and Hampshire’s insane, machine-gun blast beats. These elements send Drifted into a figurative “overdrive,” letting Davies’ shrill, high screams splatter venom and toxicity across the band’s brutalizing soundscape. However, it isn’t long before Drifted—firing on all cylinders—lose steam. Brilliantly, they do this tactfully, trading intense speed for emotive energy, using “Born into Servitude” to show the band’s penchant for the melodic—yet still murderously heavy. Here, harsh, mid-range vocals dominate, bolstered by Jack Hutchings’ rolling, thunderous bass guitar. Overtop of it all, Tidmarsh and Miller shred and soar, until the two are dragged earthbound in a series of spine-snapping breakdowns.
Spine-snapping—there’s the term you were looking for. What about the heaviness, though? You’re surely wondering. For those craving the chug (chuggaholics, one might say), you need look no further than the latter, crushing portion of the EP. Cashing in on the checks that “Healer” and its opening/closing breadowns wrote, “Lies and Negativity” and “The Grey” are, to be blunt, simply some of the heaviest deathcore to pour out of the UK. Combinations of Davies’ grisly, gore-spattering vocals and musicianship that ranges from low’n’slow to fast and pissed let this happen without a hitch. “The Grey” is especially gifted in this department; grabbing hold of one end of the listener’s intestines and pulling, dragging them out over five minutes (or what feels like five hundred miles) of pure punishment. “The Grey” is the boot to the listener’s face that fills the prophecy foretold by No Front Teeth.
It is rare that a debut EP so comprehensively displays all that a broad and crowded genre like deathcore has to offer. However, for fans of the technical and intense—fear not, there are blast-beats and scorching riffs aplenty. Like your deathcore meatier than a baconator? Lay your worries to rest, as there are low-down and slowed-down portions of chug-friendly heaviness that bring more meat than the Oscar Meyer weinermobile. In short, Drifted are soul-stealing savants—possibly the savior that deathcore has so desperately been searching for.
For Fans Of: Bound By Exile, Traitors, Dealey Plaza, Obliterate, Endings
By: Connor Welsh