CD / digital, self-released, 2010
Maybe it’s just me, but the idea of an album with Dramacore in the title would immediately suggest an emo band favoured by teenagers, or someone taking the piss in a big way (Caustic, did you miss a trick here?). But no, a quick look at their website suggests a band who are deadly serious, and with lofty aims: “In 2010 [this album] will be released and industrial music shall be redefined.”
They certainly aim high, suggesting that they are “symphonic industrial music”. Which makes a change from symphonic black metal, I guess. Not that you’d detect much of either in the opening track, “Demons Of Fame”, which suggests both Stromkern and Justin Warfield in its string-sample laden, industrial hip-hop stylings. It’s pretty good, too, other than a desperately imbalanced production that overdoes the strings to the detriment of everything else.
“Dramacore” begins well, too, with bursts of drum’n’bass and sheets of guitar sounding pretty savage, but it quickly descends into yet another morass of noise where every single element in the sound sounds muddy and buried – almost as if they are fighting for space. It gets worse, too – “Pikachu Warriors” sounds like the result of a drunken bet, nonsensical lyrics occasionally audible through about ten additional elements too many: which is a shame, as there is a great track in there desperate to get out.
It’s a recurring theme through this infuriating album, actually. At no point did *anyone* involved realise that there is far too much going on in just about every single song – and at sixty-six minutes for twelve songs, it’s something of an endurance test as it is – especially with production this poor. I say “production”, as it’s so poor and amateurish to suggest that it’s little more than on passing terms with the word. And this is something particularly galling when they suggest that they are taking the place of “Manson [and] Trent” in “Dramacore”, two artists that, for all their faults, always have ended up with impeccably produced albums.
In fact, this lack of a production is such a barrier to enjoyment of the album – I’m sure that there are at least four or five more great songs here if only someone had just said “stop” at the right point in the recording process – that sadly it’s all-but impossible to listen to the whole album in one sitting. Or if you can, you have a damned sight more patience and tolerance than I have. I’d be intrigued, actually, to see what would happen with some outside remixers getting hold of tracks from it – maybe someone from the outside might be able to help bring out the listenable core to the forefront, and prove that some of this was a good idea, as I’m convinced some of it really is.
Other tracks worth highlighting – “Conveniently Confused” is the one to ensure you avoid, as the song itself is buried so deep in the mix behind a ridiculously bright and prominent orchestral sample that it’s not even worth trying to dig out the godawful ballad that it is; “Enemy” has an awesome gunfire-like drum rhythm at points, but otherwise seems to be trying to be four different songs in less than five minutes; while “Nothing” goes full tilt towards Black Metal, but appears to have forgotten most of the guitars along the way.
Lofty aims, certainly. Just a shame that it falls flat on its arse attempting to reach greater heights.
— Adam Williams