When a label with the pedigree of Revelation Records feel strongly enough about a band to give them their full backing, the interest, as a diehard Rev fan boy, is instantly piqued, as whatever they have to offer is always going to be a bit special. That particular opportunity has befallen Californian 4 piece Drain and they’ve been afforded the opportunity to see their name up in lights next to the likes of Youth of Today, Warzone and Gorilla Biscuits. Every hardcore bands dream scenario but can they cope with that pressure? Hailing from the land of sunshine, flowers in your hair and the birth of hippy culture, quite frankly, you don’t expect to hear the incredible ruckus that these boys have produced on their incredible debut album California Cursed.
Clearly not at ease with their Cali surroundings, feelings of resentment and frustration are at the centre of California Cursed. Leading us by the hand into a false sense of calm the album opens with the sound of waves lapping gently in the surf, which is quickly quelled, as Feeling Pressure squeals into life with the biggest groove in hardcore, so far this year. And what about that guitar crunch? Imagine Turnstile with more groove and a natural penchant for 80’s thrash. The huge grooves continue with Sick One, while vocalist Sam Ciaramitaro channels Judge’s Mike Ferraro with his vibrant and energetic delivery. Army of One contains one of those classic thrash hooks, for you to slam dance your local rock dive to pieces to, so much so you’d think Rocky George had written it. The former can also be said for trippy musical interlude Hollister Daydreams. Upping the ante again, the boys soon smash back to reality with White Coat Syndrome perhaps the most aggressive track on the album. The assault continues, with a barrage of pit ready tunes that will set venues alight worldwide when these guys hit the road, right up until the album’s title track, which brings the whole thing to a halt. A more energetic album you will not hear. With California Cursed, Drain have delivered everything you could want from a classic hardcore album, with elements that make it vital listening for 2020. You think that Power Trip and the like had this new era of thrash nailed? Forget about it.
It’s not an understatement to say that that the legendary Revelation Records have somehow managed to improve their catalogue with the addition of California Cursed and everybody else may as well as just give up now. It’s not even a contest anymore, Drain, have produced the album of the year. A modern classic… Chris Andrews