Occult 45 - Occult 45/Drones For Queens Split
HPGD/Dullest Records
5 songs (11 minutes 40 second)
Release year: 2013
Reviewed by Kyler
Surprise of the month

Roughly a year after Grind The Lightning, Occult 45 is back with Drones For Queens on a five song split that is heavily pissed. I've been listening to it all week. It's catchy at times, always angry, and if you've listen to either one of these bands before, you know to expect some creative aggression.

First, a disclaimer: every Occult 45 song ever written makes me want to disrobe Hulk Hogan style when I hear it. This is why I don't listen to them in public. Somehow Occult 45 crams twenty different speed changes into each of their minute long songs without it sounding overcrowded. Their ability to create and sustain a heightened of tension is what makes them a rare songwriting talent. I'm impressed not at the difficulty of the riffs, but rather how their song structures always strike an equal balance between parts that shred the listener raw and the more brooding sections that serve as buildup, making their songs memorable. John Hauser's vocals sound like you ruined his life and he just found your address, or maybe like you just broke your dad's lamp playing indoor baseball and now he's flying down the hall taking off his belt -- there's no faking that kind of anger. The whole thing sounds better from a production standpoint than last time (thanks to Mammoth Sound Mastering). Dean Sykes has a way more distinctive guitar tone this time around. The distortion is twice as apparent compared to their last release. The guitar tone is so heavy that I thought their new bassist, Chris Kennedy, was in this recording, but he wasn't. Jason Dost is an extremely precise and controlled drummer with creative chops. His kit sounds twice as clear this time around. The choppy fills at the minute mark of Entrails of A Beautiful Woman are technical perfection, and a good demonstration of his abilities, as are the d-beat to blast switches in Priest Feast. Every song has something to offer -- Mass Appeal Mediocracy is some of the most bitter shit I've heard in a while, Entrails of A Beautiful Woman makes me feel pissed off and drunk, and Priest Feast has a breakdown that has been pleasurably stuck in my head for days. Nice job, dudes.

Drones For Queens follows up with two heavyweight songs of their own. The opening of Whitewashed Afterlife is a hard-hitting d-beat riff that ends on a microblast beat that's perfect for shoving people out of your way to, following up with a middle section that has lots of double bass and some clever transitions before the song repeats for a little and then abruptly ends pissed off. Shane Madden (ex-Woe) trades bass for guitar and throws in some tricky riffs and an interesting song structure that uses lots of repetition without becoming stale. His vocals sound like traditional hardcore. Drummer/backup vocalist Evan Madden (also ex-Woe) and bassist Bob Stokes are completely in sync and drive along the underlying aggression nicely. Greivance Collectors has a tricky instrumental section starting at the 20 second mark that highlights their collective talents, seamlessly incorporating blasts, d-beats and double bass into an intense rush before the vocals kick back in. Though they are certainly capable of playing higher speeds, a crisp d-beat march seems to be Dones For Queens's comfort zone. While not the most pissed off band around, they do have a very full sound, are quite aggressive and are sure to please any crowd looking for a mid-paced mosh.

Occult 45 and Drones For Queens succeed in creating a split that is memorable and worth listening to over and over again. That's all I ask for. Could this split be considered a classic? Too soon to tell. While it might not make VH1 Legends of Rock anytime soon (what a shame), it is certainly a respectable underground entry for the misanthropic masses.

Killing Songs :
Priest Feast, Whitewashed Afterlife
Kyler quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Occult 45 that we have reviewed:
Occult 45 - Human Abhorrence reviewed by Jared and quoted no quote
Occult 45 - Grind The Lightning reviewed by Kyler and quoted 88 / 100
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