The Drowning Season – Drum Machines and Amphetamines

28 Aug

It is hard being a musician nowadays. Music costs an arm and a leg and doesn’t pay enough.

On the other hand, it is even more difficult to do what you please and take the bad feelings out of your system.

There is a special feeling when you’re on stage, when you record a new song, when you drive to the other side of the country with your bandmates just to meet new friends and old fans to play your songs for them.  It’s true, there is a lot of shit in this so called “show-business”, but there’s also a healing side to it.

And time matters.
The longer you do it, the more you get.
It is not about the money, it is about your soul.

I suppose The Drowning Season falls into this category.  A gothic rock band from Baltimore, Maryland, formed in 2000.

Their latest album, “Drum Machines and Amphetamines” was released in 2011, following their releases “Six Hollow Perfect Things” (EP), “Hollow” (album – 2002), “New Disease” (EP) and “Curse” (album – 2009).

Throughout the years, The Drowning Season opened for bands such as The Mission (UK), The Cruxshadows, Voltaire, Gene Loves Jezebel, Stromkern, The Azoic, Assemblage 23, and many more.

They travelled to Philadelphia, Chicago, and New Orleans to perform on stage.

On “Drum Machines and Amphetamines” Matt Slowikowski (vocals, programming), Michael “Chewka” Marchewka (guitars), and James Bahleda (bass) present us with pure guitar-driven gothic rock.

Resurrection” opens the album, without hiding the band’s intentions for powerful guitar riffs and ghost stories about past relationships.  Although one could say that Matt Slowikowski’s singing on this album, is heavily influenced by Wayne Hussey of the Mission, “Resurrection” is not one of those songs…

The Visitor” finds guitarist Michael “Chewka” Marchewka playing a guitar riff on the edge of heavy rock while on “Rage of Angels” the band is more focused on their old school goth roots (the keyboards help a lot with the atmosphere of this track).

Returning to the rockier side of the band, Marchewka comes up with a very nice guitar riff on “Isolation” only to be gradually softened by the keyboards which give a haunting touch to the song. One of the best tracks of the album.

Dust Till Dawn”, that follows, gives a nice idea of the lyrical atmosphere of the album: “Fallen angels standing guard / Drift off to sleep as heaven falls hard / Never knowing the world they had was gone / Throwing halos, never caught…

Hair Bender” and “Absolution”, both raw and aggressive, make their point, while on “Shade” the band reveals an 80’s musical background influenced by the English goth scene.

The last two songs of the album are “Another World” and “Crossroad”.  The first one leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, as it is supposed to do, while “Crossroad” is a pure gothic rock track.

A couple of things I’d like to mention here:

– I find it interesting that most of the songs have a length of about 2.30 to 3.30 minutes (only the opening track is 4.40).

– Instead of long intros, interludes, and all the tricks other goth bands use to make a song longer, The Drowning Season are rockier, straight forward, and radio friendly.

– Michael “Chewka” Marchewka is not the typical gothic rock guitar player and he throws many different guitar styles into his melting pot, so don’t expect to listen to any Sisters/Mission/Nephilim copy-cut.  He uses a little bit of this and a little bit of that with a lot of other ingredients.

All in all, “Drum Machines and Amphetamines” is an interesting album and we are waiting for their new EP “Tomorrow’s Gone”…

You can visit their official site HERE.

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Posted by on August 28, 2013 in Goth, etc.


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