WRITTEN BY: Vince Barreras
After years of being an active band, and many single releases, Drowse have finally come through with their debut full length record via Sore Ear Collective, and the result was worth the wait. Drowse is a four-piece band from Philadelphia whose members are vital parts of the Philly hardcore scene and play in multiple different bands (Fixation, Chemical Fix, and fellow label mate, Low Shade). With twelve songs clocking in at eighteen minutes, you can assume this record is not going to waste any time getting started. This project has been years in the making and finally sees the light of day and was worth the long wait. The hype for this record was so great that it sold out its first run of records within a couple weeks. This is the Philadelphia society of future vampires.
What sets Drowse aside from other hardcore bands is their sound. Yes, they could easily fit into the punk/hardcore sphere with their strong riffs, breakdowns, powerful drumming, and off the wall vocals, but Drowse does it a little different. Their instrumentation is darker and has a more spacey feel than most run of the mill hardcore bands. In all honesty, they could very well morph into a post-punk/goth band at will because they have that edge to them. The goth spirit is alive and well with the band even before this record dropped, as they have covered a Siouxsie and the Banshees song in the past, the iconic “Arabian Nights,” and a small glimpse of this style is featured on the closing track of this record. The band also often features dark and mysterious album artwork to go along with their music. With that being said, Drowse has their own style and look that will allow them to exist in different universes within punk and goth music.
From the first track “Pleasure” this record punches you square in the face with its energy and total chaos. This track builds up until it explodes, and Drowse is off. How do you follow up with a track like that? You come out with “Penance,” a song that clocks in at just forty seconds, yet it makes its impact felt. The next couple tracks “Civilization” and “Tanzler” opt for a more laid out approach to the punk style of Drowse where it is more strung out and expanded not only in length but in instrumentation. It is a combination of interesting guitar riffs, and breakdowns that separate it from other hardcore acts. That’s what Drowse does great on this record, they offer a diverse range of instrumentation and takes on hardcore music.
Yeah, you have your bangers like “Mangled Mass,” and “Incapable,” that stick to a more straight forward hardcore formula, but songs like “Missing Person’s Report,” which served as the debut single for this record, are more experimental in sound and flow. The song begins with what you would think would be another kind of hardcore, but the band throws listeners a curve ball and the last act of the track is like a noise rock song from hell. It slowly breaks down and comes to a crashing end of pure anarchy and destruction. The highlight of this record is its concluding track, the self-titled “Dance in the Decay.” Not only is this song totally unique with its dark post-punk/goth-tinged guitars but it’s totally original, again, a perfect example of this band’s own style and sound.
Drowse is able to accomplish something many hardcore bands try to do and aren’t as successful and that is to stay fresh and innovate. Drowse push their sound much further than the typical hardcore band and fuse a combination of dark and gothic elements into their music that makes it deep and interesting to listen to. At times you know you are listening to great hardcore music, but at other times they flirt with a post-punk sound that leaves listeners wanting more. This is a band that will thrive not only in the Philly music scene but will have a long list of cities to play. Their sound isn’t stagnant, and they can go in so many directions. Drowse is that band to listen to and if you haven’t already — stop wasting your time and listen to probably the best punk/hardcore record you will listen to in 2020.
- Mangled Mess
- Missing Persons Report
- Shattered Ego
- Dance in the Decay