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Hadees Drudge – On Your Knees

Hadees Drudge
On Your Knees
by Max Elias at 16 November 2020, 5:02 PM

HADEES DRUDGE is another on the list of thrash and other kinds of old-school metal that emerged in the 21st century, particularly the early 2000s. This first release by the band sees them slipping comfortably into that niche. To start with, the album begins with the instrumental, soft, mostly acoustic “Intro (State Of)”, in a once unique but now strikingly common trope. The intro sets a dreamy tone with spacey, uncomplicated guitar lines, and fades gradually into the rest of the album.

The first proper song here is “Rise Up”, which rests on a strong, EXUMER-like pedal-tone riff. The vocals sound more typical of the American interpretation of thrash, however. There are lots of good riffs in the song, but it is a little longer than it needs to be. The groove-centric rhythms throughout the chorus and breakdown are strident at first, but wear thin upon too much repetition. The second half of the song is entirely instrumental until an abruptly barked “Rise up” ends the song. The groove-influenced THRASH METAL continues with “Scape Goat”. Though the band plays a style popularized decades in the past, they shape their sound using trends in more modern metal. The relatively short “Scape Goat” is potent if a little bland, helped by the vitriolic growls of vocalist Duane Frew.

The band slows things down a little bit with “It’s What I Do”, where the riffs are less active, there is more melody, and there are even clean vocals during the choruses. It’s also one of the few times we hear a guitar solo, brief as it may be—which is another trend typical of more recent metal. The pace picks up again on “On Your Knees”; at under 3 and a half minutes, it wastes no time getting to the point. “On Your Knees” is built on the back of an old-school early thrash riff, meaty and vicious until the end. Though there is clean singing thrown in among the snarls (which seems to be the band’s trademark), it does not diminish the heft of the song. In fact, the plaintive wailing is just as haunting as the harshest bark. Speaking of the vocals, they really shine on “Take Me Back”, where the lyrical phrasing reminds me of Chuck Billy a little bit.

The band seems to reclaim some of the fire shown in “Rise Up” on “Wait For What”; after a melodic intro, the song explodes into a torrent of pounding drums and acrobatic fills. A well-placed guitar hook raises the energy of the song beyond a simple stomping thrasher, and blistering arpeggio runs appear throughout. The song also lapses into a clean interlude a couple minutes from the end, in an odd stylistic choice that would be more at home thematically and sonically in grunge. The band strays into that territory lyrically more than would be expected in THRASH METAL, particularly on songs like “Wait For What” and “For You”.

There is also some fire present on “Self Preservation”, but mostly in the first riff. The short pull-off break is cool though. The band muddies the waters by having the last minutes of the song consist mostly of a plodding gang-chant of the song’s title, which undermines its attack. The next most striking instance of more interesting riffing is the album closer “My Life”, which throws a wrench into things with a significantly different intro riff and a greater emphasis on lead guitar work (which, even though the guitar tone is not my favorite, is well-executed and aptly placed).

Unfortunately, though there are good riffs here and there, and the music is generally solid, there are a lot of songs on this album that are simply boring. One example is “No Escape”, which has riffs too similar to previous songs and not intense enough to capture the attention for too long. It distinguishes itself primarily by featuring the most lead guitar work of anything on the album so far. The self-titled track “Hadees Drudge” also feels limp. The band feels most at home at a midtempo stomp that in my opinion makes them stand out less from contemporaries, and the few moments of mayhem hint at the frenzied, acrobatic riffs the band could write if they chose. I would listen to this out of curiosity, but not come back to it in a hurry, especially not in a world where so much metal of so many different types exists.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Musicianship: 8
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. Intro (State Of)
  2. Rise Up
  3. Scape Goat
  4. It’s What I Do
  5. Hadees Drudge
  6. On Your Knees
  7. Take Me Back
  8. No Escape
  9. Wait For What
  10. For You
Lineup:
Chris Evers – Bass
Joran Hotton – Drums
Jason Keeler – Guitars
Duane Frew – Vocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 05 December 2020
 

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