Formed in 2007, Washington State’s The Drip fairly quickly built infamy among the underground ranks drawing comparisons to grindcore luminaries such as Napalm Death and Terrorizer. Such tributes, and with two solid EPs behind them, led them to being picked up by Relapse Records. The band have gone from strength to strength releasing acclaimed EP Presentation of Gruesome Poetics in 2014 and being invited to tour with the likes of Pig Destroyer and genre royalty Napalm Death. The Haunting Fear of Inevitability represents the band’s first, and it must be said eagerly anticipated, full length offering.
From the onset of brutal opener “Blackest Evocation”, it seems clear that the band have picked up where they left off from on the last record. Thirteen short and brutal tracks are on offer here, blending the key elements of grindcore; incendiary blast beats, juggernaut like double bass kicks, and catchy breakdowns, with trademark riffs and a real freshness of the band’s own. To describe this release as purely grindcore would be to undersell it somewhat; there is considerable craft on show. Tracks such as “Dead Inside” and “Painted Ram” illustrate this well, slowing things down and ramping up the melody, providing a nice break to the ferocity that forms the backbone of the record. Equally, some of the riffage is outstanding, non-more so than on album standout “Wretches” and second track “Anathema”.
It is very difficult to pick fault here. This is an excellent and thoroughly enjoyable debut album which scores highly. However, two small (and I emphasise small) issues I have with the record prevent me from giving it full marks.
The first concerns the mix. While the sound quality is generally very good, delivering the brutality of the music well, the drum levels sound overpowering in places and while this may be deliberate, for me it is to the slight detriment of the overall mix. Secondly, while I admire the fresh take on the classic grindcore sounds, I struggled somewhat with the vocal delivery which at times is of the high pitched/screaming variety more synonymous with deathcore outfits. Again a very small criticism, and one very much down to personal taste.
However, let that not take away from an excellent debut LP, which I am sure will leave those that have waited long extremely happy and indeed surely garner a legion of new followers.
The Haunting Fear of Inevitability is released 13 January on Relapse Records.