The world has not been nice to Drag King. They set out to be a conventional rock band, but after going through singers like Spinal Tap through drummers (sans death), they decided to set off as an instrumental group. Then they recorded this cd, as a guitar, bass, drums trio. Then, of course, the bass player gets antsy and runs off. What does Drag King do? Continues on, minus the bassist. That makes them a heavy math rock/metal duo. How much more uncommon can you get? Not very.
Immediately, a fierce, metallic wall of sound greets us. “Smile Like a Bunch of Cheerleaders” has very mathy, complex riffs, but the sound is so dense and powerful that to call it anything but metal would be an understatement. Since there are no vocals, all three instruments are essential to this sound. The guitars lead it, the bass relieves it, and the drums push everything along nicely. As we move on to the rest of the album, we find one term that defines this best: Chaotic. The guitar jumps around, playing erratic bursts of alternately note-intensive and chord intensive, slamming and a little less than slam. The trio hangs together by the seat of their pants. It doesn’t seem like it should make sense, but it does. Stellar tracks are the melodious and partially subdued “Shit to Eat”, cause the drums go veritably nuts during it, and the dark and ominous “Casual Male”.
The guitar fan will love this. No vocals to distract from this music. Just jagged, piercing guitars, frenzied drumming, and jaunty bass. The amazing thing is that although this is 10 tracks long, there’s enough variation of the guitar lines to keep it interesting. In a nutshell, if you like the first two tracks, you’ll love the rest of the album. If you’re just ok with them, then this will get tedious. But for some people, this album will float in the air, shine with an unearthly splendor, and be followed by an angelic hum.