Written by: TL on 20/02/2011 23:25:09

Singer Craig Owens has been around the block once or twice, trying to find a band project worth staying with. Emerging with Chiodos, Owens spent time on the side with Cinematic Sunrise, Isles & Glaciers, The Sound Of Animals Fighting and a solo-record, before Chiodos ultimately split with him for reasons unknown. Ever the busy-body, he soon scrambled to assemble an allstar cast in his new brain-child D.R.U.G.S - Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows.

After being joined by drummer Aaron Stern (Matchbook Romance), guitarist/vocalist Nick Martin (Underminded), guitarist/vocalist Matt Good (From First to Last), and bassist Adam Russell (Story of the Year), deals were inked with Sire and Decaydance, a record was done with Goldfinger frontman John Feldmann producing, and since then D.R.U.G.S have been constantly spamming all kinds of song previews, release-videos and whatever other online-promotion they could think of, trying to get us all excited for their debut.

After a fair beginning with tracks one and two, "If You Think This Is A Song About You, It Probably Is" and "The Only Thing You Talk About", it soon becomes apparent however, that Owens could soon be looking around for yet another new band-project, because in all fairness, "D.R.U.G.S" - as the album is also titled - is quite unimpressive. Here's why:

The guy first in line in the blame game is John Feldmann. The accomplished producer has worked, among other things, on the two recentmost The Used records, and maybe that's why this whole thing sounds like second-rate The Used. Owens, who does at least seem to have gotten more control on his trademark child-like voice, over-shadows everything else in the center of the mix. Apart from his manic vocals, the only thing that seems to give the songs identity, is the usual assortment of cheap theatrics, which Decaydance and Fueled By Ramen have routinely sprinkled over sub-par artists for a while. Basically the exact same chimes and strings you've heard lately, in attempts to cover up the short-comings of VersaEmerge, The Used, Escape The Fate.

Meanwhile, everything that should've given edge to the band's seemingly controversial attitudes, has been tucked nicely in the back of the soundscape. Screams are smoothed over, and guitars sound almost invariably dull and lifeless, which is potentially all the same, because there doesn't seem to be a good riff in sight anyway. Matt Good having found new playmates seemingly hasn't done anything to cure the shortage of ideas that likely meant the end of his last band. Maybe Feldmann actually hid the guitars because there wasn't much there worth highlighting anyway?

In all fairness, Rockfeaks.net routinely receives piles of records that explore the sounds of "pointless" and "awful" to a much fuller degree than D.R.U.G.S do, but then again, most of those aren't written by supposed scene-veterans, and recorded by a high-profile producer. In the end though, although songs like "Sex Life" and "I'm Here To Take The Sky" have lyrics that make my toes cringe, I still think Owens and his gang have a few ideas that are marginally cooler than what contemporaries like Senses Fail and Escape The Fate have been peddling lately. It's only unfortunate that they come across so underdeveloped and impotent. For the time being, the most memorable thing about D.R.U.G.S is that I think they're the first band that has me tempted to use the derogative term "mallcore", and while Chiodos can pad themselves on the back for moving on with a new singer, Owens should consider to destroy and rebuild, because God definetely hasn't shown yet.


Download: If You Think This Is A Song About You, It Probably Is; The Only Thing You Talk About; Laminated E.T. Animal
For The Fans Of: The Used, Craig Owens, From First To Last, My Chemical Romance
Listen: thisisdrugs.com

Release Date 22.02.2011
Decaydance/Sire Records

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