Rock And Roll Killing Machine

Drowningman - Rock And Roll Killing Machine ©2000 Revelation
1. When People Become Numbers
2. Last Weeks Minutes From The Meeting Of The Secret Society Of Your Friends
3. The Truly Dangerous Nature Of A Man Who Doesn't Care If He Lives Or Dies
4. Rock And Roll Killing Machine
5. Code Breaking Hearts
6. My First Restraining Order
7. This Years Most Fashionable Signs Of Weakness
8. If God Loves A Winner He's Going To Want To Fuck Me In A Minute (Born to Break Even)
9. Angles And Defenses

The ingeniousness of Rock and Roll Killing Machine lies in its ability to sound fairly off-the-wall on paper (here we have aspects of math rock, emo, metal, noisecore, hardcore, progressive metal ... what else?) yet still remain very appealing in simple ways. Carefully placed amongst the fire breathing vocals and technical wizardry of the guitar-riffs and drumming is a love of good, old-fashioned memorable melodies, including lots of great turns of phrase like "We'll tear this place apart, we'll piss inside your heart."

With songtitles like "Code Breaking Hearts" and "My First Restraining Order" there is some fun to be had at expense of the indie rock/emo crowd especially sung, as they occasional are, cleanly and sincerely. The band prevents their technically-oriented songs from slipping into the memory hole as soon as the CD stops spinning by sounding looser and more spontaneous than their many metalcore brethren; the band isn't herky-jerky - it more steamrolls. Thanks to the blitzkrieg drumming of Joe Villemaire, the band can quite seamlessly string together guitar-riffs into a crashing, maelstrom of sound. In one fell visceral swoop, then, Drowningman buries the soulless technical wankrock of Dillinger Escape Plan and their ilk, while subverting expectations of hardcore and making mad fun of emo bands in the process. Yeah, all in a day's work.

What else? It rocks pretty hard too. The production is unflashly and live sounding, allowing the instruments to ring, buzz, and breathe. At a whopping twenty-eight minutes it is the longest, and finally maybe the best release, from this mighty and relevant band.

Review by Lee Steadham

Review date: 02/2003

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Drowningman Still Loves You

Drowningman - Drowningman Still Loves You ©2002 Equal Vision
1. The More I Get To Know You The Less I Like You
2. The Unbearable Burden Of Always Being Right
3. Weighted And Weighed Down
4. Living With The Awful Truth That We're Not As Cool As We'd Like Other People To Think We Are
5. Surveillance Footage Highlights

With the phrase "fuck you" dispersed liberally throughout the lyric sheet (and also scrawled on the blow-up fish-looking thing adorning the CD inlay), Drowningman Still Loves You is a fitting final testament from one of the few hardcore bands that mattered.

And still, to describe the band as "hardcore" is a banal simplification. This eighteen minute EP presents no radical variations on the band's chimeric sound: screaming, irregular, piercing guitar rhythms nicely matched by shrieking vocals that occasionally break into hummable, even heart-breaking melodies by way of lyrics that are often humorous, and occasionally ridiculous.

Drowningman Still Loves You shows the band has gotten better at integrating these various elements into their music. While on past releases Simon's forays into clean singing often seemed wedged-in, here he seems to adjust his voice to the complexion of the music, or tone of the lyric. It would not, for example, seem appropriate to be crooning a line like "Fuck you too. Fuck you dead." And, on the other hand, "The Unbearable Burden of Always Being Right" is almost a completely melodic affair, filled with curiously ambiguous lyrics like "The pen and the ink they stab through the heart, draws on lies and the feelings will start at back of your knees and we'll watch through the holes strategically cut in your bathroom walls while you choke." What the fuck? This track especially, but all five to be sure, at every turn demonstrate an abundance of crafty, and continually shifting, guitar riffs.

Generally it might be said this EP, while typically harsh, has more of an emphasis on melodic and memorable elements. Not really "vintage Drowningman" - just another Drowningman release, par excellence.

Review by Lee Steadham

Review date: 06/2002

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