It may be only four tracks creating barely ten minutes of hellacious fury but listening to the Practically Weapons EP from US punks Drones For Queens, is a hostility which withers the senses and scars the psyche. It is by no means an easy listen, to be honest a barbarous one at times, but for braving its tortuous climate the rewards are thrilling. Creating a venomous brawl of thrash, hardcore, and grind with extra searing spices, the Philadelphia-based band goes for the jugular with a sonic bloodlust and enterprise which is as inventive as it is fearsome. Breaking through its blistering surface though you find a warped enterprise which tantalises, and though to embrace it may prove difficult for some for others the EP is sure to ignite a greedy appetite.
Drones For Queens features ex-members of Woe, Woods of Ypres, and current members of The Green Evening Requiem, Population Zero, and Dirt Worshipper, and has already lured in attention and acclaim through firstly their cassette EP Health in 2012. Even more potent acclaim came with their split 7” release with Occult 45 which came out at the end of the following year, but recorded with Steve Roche (Stinking Lizaveta, Rat Healer, Nightfall, Witch Hunt, Serpent Throne), it is easy to expect Practically Weapons to push the band into wider recognition such the vicious, uncompromising, little treat of an assault that it is.
State Your Terms is the first to corrupt ears, its initial sonic scrub soon battered by a flurry of voracious stick swinging and d-beat hostility from drummer Evan Madden. It is a tsunami of spite and intensity equally driven by the malicious vocal squalls of guitarist Shane Madden. There is no hiding place as the song consumes every inch of the by now ringing ears but beneath the raging tempest, the bass of Bob Stokes is crafting dark virulent temptation and the guitar a spiky but addictive web of sharp hooks and nagging grooving. It is compelling stuff, a clash of brute force and anger against a creative seduction which is almost flirtatious in its understated but open adventure.
It is a fusion continuing across all the remaining songs in their very individual characters, the following EP title track unleashing a heavy ravenous texture of sound and intent built on groove metal agitation and thrash animosity. Though it does not instantly sparkle in its depths as the first song, the grooves which spear the onslaught are mouth-watering and the rhythmic tenacity and enterprise of Evan exhaustingly gripping, whilst its closing melodic twist just steals the imagination.
From its opening second A Blinding Future has a niggling groove which works incessantly away at ears and psyche from within the rhythmic turbulence buffeting the body. The severity of the track’s examination, indeed the EP’s, is fierce and unrelenting but again the ingeniously intrusive invention of the guitars beneath the turmoil is bewitching and backed with similar endeavour by Stokes’ bass which manages to abuse and seduce simultaneously.
The closing Duress emerges as the best track on the EP, its twists and inventive spite standing toe to toe with the savage storm at the surface of the contagious voracity. The song is a maelstrom of grooves, hooks, and flailing rhythms interspersed with acidic melodic twists and the grouchiest bassline you are likely to meet this year, and with a growl to match. It takes tops honours on the release and reinforces the impressive weight and creative exploits of the EP.
Practically Weapons pushes on an already impressive emergence by Drones For Queens and suggests that fans of everything from hardcore and crust punk to grindcore and extreme thrash/metal might potentially have a new proposition to lust over. They certainly have us hooked.
Practically Weapons is available on 7” white vinyl limited to 300 copies via Riff Lifter Media @ http://rifflifter.bigcartel.com/product/drones-for-queens-practically-weapons-7-pre-order
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