With testosterone dripping from every note, rhythm, and syllable, the self-titled album from French band Drawers is one hefty irresistible treat. The second full-length from the Toulouse quintet sees the band parading their individual blend of stoner and sludge rock cast with a metal bred intensity and ferociousness, a sound which has made them a formidable and exciting proposition over past years. This time around though it comes with a seemingly stripped down and organic voracity which fuels and fire up the finest encounter from the band to date, an album giving heavyweight dirt encrusted rock ‘n’ roll a real shot in the sinew clad arm.
From their first release, the 2008 This is Oil EP, Drawers has reaped strong and eager attention which with debut album All is One three years later, they turned into rigorous acclaim for their imposing sound. Live the band also garnered the richest responses and praise whilst a split 7” with French band Hangman’s Chair in 2012 reinforced the band’s presence further. Entering the studio for the new album, Drawers set about employing all the potent essences which marked previous releases with the unbridled raw energy and power of their live performances. Recorded live in the studio it is fair to say that the album achieves its aim and more, the eight tracks combining for a towering and adrenaline fuelled encounter with razor sharp hooks and lingering grooves to feverishly latch on to.
The band opens up their enterprise soaked bruising with Once and for all, rhythms immediately tantalising the ears whilst bright riffing coaxes equal attention. It is a relatively undemanding start, certainly in context to the thumping beats and intensive sounds which soon reaps the rewards of an already eager appetite as they smother the senses in ravenous energy and intent. The song ebbs and flows pleasingly, taking small ‘breathers’ between avalanches of strenuous imposing charges. The guitars of Laurent Bringer and Alexandre Berenguer entice and thrill throughout, from the rampant riffery to the sonic colour which ignites the song to even greater extents, the pair command and tempt the imagination alongside the excellent grizzly tones of vocalist Nicolas Bastide.
It is a potent and impressive start but soon shown to be just an appetiser as both Mourning and It’s all about love thrust their muscle through the ears. The first of the two unleashes a torrent of rhythms from Olivier Lolmède aligned to a fury of guitar scathing before settling into an only slightly less furious pace and intent. With the bass of Hérémie Ruiz adding a predatory intimidation to the song, grooves and sonic flames emerge to captivate and infect the imagination with Bastide’s vocals riding it all like a burly surfer, his caustic delivery guiding everything confidently into the passions. Like the first, the track twists and switches its gait and attack to offer a gloriously unpredictable and striking proposition, a Thin Lizzy meets Mastodon like enthrallment which is simply majestic. Its successor is no less a successful antagonist, immediate grooves and bulging rhythms enslaving thoughts and eager emotions right away with their ravenous and breath-taking intent. Thoughts of Torche and Baroness come to mind in the doom tasting slab of creative muscle but only as loud whispers in a fresh and distinctly rapacious heavy rock proposition.
Both Bleak and Take stock continue the irrepressible body and lure of the album, the chugging hunger of the first wrapped in contagion soaked grooves whilst its successor offers a slower prowling intensity with sludge seeded provocation and weight. Neither quite match up what came before and what will follow but both leave imagination and satisfaction basking in sonic tsunamis. That shade is cast right away by the tremendous Shadow dancers, once again riffs and rhythms seizing the initial offensive and submission for the fiery guitar endeavour and scowling vocals to press deeper into the psyche and emotions. Churning up the air with riff sculpted rabidity, the melodic flames of the song flare up and smoulder within what is an unrelenting energetic pace from start to finish, the whole body of song a fully rounded and richly textured adventure.
The album is brought to a triumphant close with firstly the magnificent Words which takes all the impressive elements already offered and exhausted by previous songs and gives them a new breath of invention and carnivorous intensity, and lastly by the almost corrosively impressive Detour. The final track is a furnace of energy and power drenched in melodic toxicity and groove lined imagination, a beast of a song which savages and seduces with equal mastery. The pair concludes a quite breath-taking release where everything from the intensive songwriting, the compelling individual skills of the band, through to the overall blaze of sound is exceptional. Released via Kaotoxin Records, with its first pressing on CD a 1,000 hand-numbered copies limited edition, the album has securely registered Drawers as a major force in world metal, theirs a power which all should dare to embrace.
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