When an album brief says ‘brutal and promising’ my gut reaction is “Really!! Bring it!” and “Drag Me Down,” the second full offering from Danish Extreme Metal executioners Cabal is certainly brutal, the opening track “Gift Givers” was an immediate assault on the senses, just like its predecessor, 2018’s “Mark of Rot,” if not more so. It’s not a release for those with a weak disposition or the over forties, unless, like me, you have a seriously deranged and warped disposition…. In which case you’ll be inexplicably drawn, albeit kicking and screaming, to it as I was, it’s an acerbic modern blend of elements of Black and Death Metal, Djent, Hardcore … as well as a few surprise elements that I’ll get to later.
“Drag Me Down” is ten tracks spanning just thirty-five minutes, which is more than adequate, anymore would be pure overkill, fascinating overkill I grant you but non the less overkill. The album also boasts guest appearances from Polaris’ Jamie Hails on the slightly industrialised “Drag Me Down,” Møl’s Kim Song Sternkopf on “It Haunts Me” which has a touch of a symphonic undercurrent to it, definitely not what you expect from a release of this nature but appreciated by me, and the Djent edge really comes to the fore the more this track progresses, rounding the edges off the very acerbic vocals and finally Trivium’s Matt Heafy makes an appearance on the eerie but catchy crusher “Bitter Friend.”
Clearly, they have grabbed the attention of their peers but what really grabbed my attention was “Unbound,” it has one of those very addictive repeat grooves, getting me nodding in time with approval and adding a certain something to that oppressive acerbic aura that dominates this very brutal and bleak offering. Speaking of bleak, the final track, the bleak and dark “Demagogue” throws a couple of chunks of rather nice deranged semi cleans into the mix, adding extra darkness and insanity.
Also, worth a mention is the decidedly haunting quality to “Sjælebrand” which definitely adds a listenable edge to the track and I do like the way “The Hangman’s Song” is constructed, the pace speeds and slows in a seemingly random but clearly considered, offbeat, chunky, mad kind of way, making it rather emotive and the oddly addictive “Death March” also brings on my rhythmic nod of approval.
“Drag Me Down” is out now on Long Branch Records, available from the Cabal bandcamp page and should appeal to fans of bands like Thy Art Is Murder, Emmure, and Suicide Silence, and this would fully meet my remit if enjoyed as a live performance with copious amounts of cider, guaranteed to clear away the mental cobwebs.
Rating – 4/5