Drowningman - Don't Push Us When We're Hot (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Don't Push Us When We're Hot (2005)


Drowningman seems like the type of band perfect for any follower of heavy music that finds most tech hardcore/metal bands a bit too brutal. Similar to the technique used by sure followers All Else Failed, incorporated by Drowningman into their sound are well-integrated, more emotional segues. While there are countless metal(core) outfits relying on cheesy melodic singing and abruptly sugary choruses to either ensure hooks or provide a changeup from full-throttle screaming, the Vermont-based five-piece is wholly different. This is likely due to the fact that the band's normal vocal delivery is an anguished, throaty yell, while the same singer handles the more affected moments without whimpering or breaking into artificial tears. It's a fluid, well-connected display of pacing and interchanging heaviness on the band's newest full-length, their Thorp debut Don't Push Us When We're Hot.

Throw Snapcase and sprinkles of early Dillinger Escape Plan (with whom they've released a split) into a blender, and you just may have a rough idea of what's being served up on Don't Push Us. However, while there are certainly elements of tech bands like Dillinger running through them, things are usually a bit more stripped down. Songs like "John Cougar Mellencamp is the White Devil" prove that the band may be a bit more reliant on influences like the former mentioned than past efforts on labels ranging from Hydra Head and Revelation to Law of Inertia and Equal Vision. Even when the technical aspects are there, they usually aren't so obvious. Tucked under the relatively straightforward "Dude Status: Revoked" is a riff that should sound distant from the otherwise simple structure overlying it, but somehow fits in fine.

Vocally, lead singer Simon Brody is fairly similar to Bane's Aaron Bedard, with sporadic moments heavily resembling said band (see suddenly up-tempo moment in "Dude Status: Revoked" with layered chants of "how long has it been?! / it's so good to have you back!").

"Today's Special: Still Beating Hearts" is one of the more completely warmer tracks, and acts sort of as an early interlude to ease the listener away from an album slightly more complicated in areas. "White People Are Stupid" is a standout, with its flawless time changes that continuously bounce back and forth, and a breakdown proving the band's attitudes haven't at all been lost to complete seriousness, sounding rather threatening with a small gang vocal chant of "if you know what's good for you, you'll shut your fucking mouth!" only until a female guest vocalist closes it out adding "you'll shut the / fuck up!" "Drowningman Dance Party, Bring Your Own Bodybag" is one of the more ambitious tracks, aggressive throughout, but moderately subduing for dueling guitar riffs and effective gang shouts.

Even while there's what sounds like a battle between simplicity and complexity on Drowningman's Don't Push Us When We're Hot -- and an enjoyable combat at that -- there's a wonderfully positive vibe (perhaps Shai Hulud-like) that seems to nearly always underlie it. It's a surely intimidating album that somehow simultaneously reels in the violence, and thus makes for a definitively interesting listen.

White People Are Stupid