Jordan Smith-Guitars, Vocals
Corey Clark-Bass, Vocals
Dyllen Nance-Drums, Vocals
Drude evolved from their original state, a band called Burn The Army. Two years after their first EP ‘The Tide To Sink The Summit’ was released, the three men from Indianapolis decided to move to heavier pastures with Drude, not wholly leaving behind their post-metal and stoner/doom metal roots behind, but adding extra dimensions to their sound. They have amassed five tracks to culminate their first self titled release and launch Drude into the stratosphere. For any of those that are familiar with Burn The Army, there will be many aspects of this EP that are reminiscent of the former project but ‘Drude’ has taken the band beyond the boundaries of their former endeavour and has brought a more accomplished sound. They have definitely upped their game.
The way in which the EP starts off could easily be mistaken as just a simple continuation of the Burn The Army narrative. The pace is slow, the notes fairly soft and textured but when the distortion erupts we shift into some down right dirty Drudeness and the three ambitious musicians carry us through a tumultuous journey full of twists and shifts. They incorporate a lot of doom and stoner fueled riffs throughout. At points you get the solid power chords which can shift into various notations which bring back the more textured and atmospheric sections. The first track ‘Drude’ at just over nine minutes long serves as a worthy introduction and has all the various characteristics in it that the band employ. Suffice to say it’s an aptly named and positioned track to launch the band.
The second track ‘Barbelo’ is very much a continuation of the introduction. Again we get just over nine minutes of music which brings all the doom,stoner and post-metal attributes that make up Drude’s sound. We get however, over six and a half minutes of pure instrumentation before the vocals begin. The song is excellently done. The shifts in tempo come in ever so naturally yet unexpectedly. What we get from Drude is a highly thought out and elaborate combination of musical forces and timing structures. When at times the tone seems fairly mild, there can be an alternate path of aggression that transforms the mood and feel of the songs. The post-metal sections are left instrumental whilst the doom and sludge coated riffs combine with the vocals to dramatic effect. There are plenty of moments that are strikingly reminiscent of early Mastodon.
If there were however any criticisms to be made, it could be targeted at their seemingly over reliance to transform back into a post-metal soundscape after some of the heavier sections. We hear a persistence of this almost repetition through the third track ‘Oasu’ and the fourth track ‘Demure’. However, there really aren’t too many qualms that can be raised because of this as it does fit into the compositions in a fairly streamlined fashion. It just doesn’t thrill or entice as much as it could do. It can be moments that make or break a song and when you are designing song structures that are between seven and ten minutes long, you want to make sure you can keep the listener gripped in a state of pure fascination. Sometimes Drude have achieved this throughout the EP, but it is not all awe inspiring barrages of prodigious music. The fury that they can unleash which strangles your attention can just as easily be withdrawn and tempered.
The last track does bring some destructive potency back. ‘Eidolon’ starts with a wonderfully composed piece of sludgy goodness that opens to a section that almost comes off as a form of melodic black metal. Crazy stuff if you ask me, but this is what grasps your attention and if we get more examples of this in Drude’s future output then I would imagine that they can build upon their following. ‘Eidolon’ is a highly strategic piece of this game that Drude have constructed. It has certainly left myself with aspirations to keep an eye on this band and any upcoming updates. Overall there are far more positives than negatives with Drude’s self-titled EP. The power that they can produce is surreal at times. This same power can be quashed under waves of atmospheric and highly texturised music that can be quite transient at times and haunting at others.
Everything that Drude have done on this EP is tantamount to their nature. They have moved on a bit from Burn The Army, but a lot of that sound seems to be inescapable for these three and it permeates a lot of this EP a well. They have removed all of the elements that could possibly be viewed as slightly ‘core’ and have replaced this with a more consistent aggression in the vocals and plethora of varying rhythm sections. This evolution is a welcome one as the band have gotten more heavier which adds a more dramatic edge to the sounds that they have crafted. The walls of sound are steeper and less passable this way. Drude have certainly brought more to the table with this release and that is exactly what a band under a revamp would need. I would highly recommend giving this a blast, or two, or three. For those looking for sounds familiar to that of an early Mastodon with a post-metal and doom laden twist then ‘Drude’ is going to make you cream your little pantaloons.