7th – the ingeniously titled seventh album from Brazilian death/thrashers Drowned – sees these veterans branching out but failing to fully capitalise on their new horizon of sounds. Not nearly as well known as their compatriots Sepultura, Sarcofago, Korzus, Attomica, Vulcano etc, Drowned should be fighting for their lives at this stage in their career, fully settled on a sound and pushing forward with unremitting focus. Instead, they seem to be throwing everything into the mix in an attempt to have something ‘stick’.
The results, as expected, are random to say the least!
“Toothless Messiah” is a sloppy mess of styles, incoherent and misjudged and, ironically, lacks bite. “Timbomb Conscience” starts as a balls-out out chugging death metal colossus before layered vocals fuck up any momentum….and that’s pretty much the pattern for the album. Some moments gel, while other’s destroy any good work achieved.
The problem is that by seeking “new musical horizons” (band quote, not ours), Drowned have created a choppy, inconsistent experience which lacks identity. No sooner does a track settle into a groove – “Murder, Sex, Hate and More” is a prime example – do Drowned feel the need to askew straight into some ill-fitting collision of genre; ultimately pulling the listener out of the song and directly into the realms of confusion.
You name it, it’s here. There’s remnants of nu-metal in Drowned’s occasional use of parrot-squeal noises and down-tuned riffing, there’s melodic thrash, there’s death metal, there’s groove metal, there’s elements of attempting progressive death metal…..and very few pay off within the framework of any one song.
When a song does ‘work’, such as the chugging “Damaged Wood Coffins”, you can understand why Drowned are still around and on their 7th album. The remainder of the album though simply confirms why they’re not as well know nor as revered as the Brazilian bands already listed above.
At the 7th attempt, many will feel that Drowned are simply treading water. Maybe 8th will be a little better? 5/10