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Rock and Roll Killing Machine

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Album Review

"Hardcore math-metal with a double side order of emo" would be a good start in describing this album, Drowningman's first full-length (or, at least, at 28 and a half minutes, their longest release to date). They combine the fast-paced controlled-chaos of bands like Converge and Dillinger Escape Plan with more of an emphasis on melody as well as — gasp — a sensitive side. That is, in addition to screaming his lungs out, vocalist Simon Brody also sings a good bit of the time, often sounding like he's about to break down in tears. His lyrics highlight the music's urgent, anthem-like tone, repeatedly using the words "tonight" and "we" (e.g., "Tonight we're coming back," "Tonight we'll paint the walls with a bucket of your blood," etc.). Through it all, the band fluidly navigates the flood of riffs, complex time signatures, and tempo changes that run through every song. Especially noteworthy is how the dual guitars intertwine and complement each other, creating harmonies that are sometimes harsh and discordant, while at other times melancholy and almost even pretty. Despite all the dazzling complexity on hand, each of the songs gives the listener something to grab hold of — usually in the vocals — making this album relatively accessible as far as this type of punishing, sensory overload-inducing hardcore goes. Concise, yet filled with details, Rock and Roll Killing Machine lends itself to many listens and reveals something new with each one. Impressive.


Formed: 1997 in Burlington, VT

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Not easily pigeonholed, Drowningman's blisteringly intense sound combines elements of heavy metal, modern hardcore, grinding noise, math rock, and emo (in both its melodic and progressive, Dischord-esque forms). The band was formed in the unlikely college town of Burlington, VT; its members included vocalist Simon Brody, guitarists Javin Leonard and Matt Roy, bassist Dave Barnett, and drummer Joe Villemaire. Drowningman debuted in 1997 with a 7" single, "Weighted and Weighed Down," on Boston-based...
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Rock and Roll Killing Machine, Drowningman
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