EP Review: Dripback – Inhaling The Ashes

Given that their lineup is comprised of members of such sonically savage bands as Ted Maul, Labrat and River Freshney, it comes as little surprise that Dripback, an intriguing, newly-formed collective from London, deal in nothing other than utterly knackering brutality. As the band’s debut EP ‘Inhaling The Ashes’ testifies, however, this heaviness manifests itself in a different way to that of any of the members’ previous projects. The experimentation of Ted Maul, River Freshney’s thrash leanings and the edgy iconography of Labrat are all absent from Dripback’s approach, but what is present is an effective marriage of death metal and hardcore.

Dripback - Inhaling The Ashes ArtworkDespite measuring in at just 18 minutes and six tracks, there’s plenty to admire about ‘Inhaling The Ashes’. The fact that this is an EP of heavy music at its most aggressive is obvious from the outset, as Dripback waste no time in stating their intent with the short intro ‘Hold Your Horses’. Ferocious pace and trademark hardcore riffs come to the fore instantaneously, and an element of humour, or at least quirkiness, arises in the form of a bloodcurdling Cockney bellow of “Come on, you cunts!” The stylistic qualities of Dripback become particularly apparent on ‘Kick Out Time’, a well-rounded yet delightfully rough offering consisting of extremely rapid drumming, uncomplicated yet evocative riffs, and a touch of progressiveness. It’s essentially a coming-together of the artistic consistency of modern death metal as popularised by the likes of Trigger The Bloodshed, and the rhythmic innovation of extreme hardcore à la Trap Them and Black Breath.

Dripback don’t always necessarily stick with this combination, but when they do adopt it, they produce the finest results. ‘Distrust’, for instance, is a highlight largely because of its strikingly infectious riffs and impressive structure, but the death metal/hardcore dichotomy is even displayed in the performance of vocalist Wez4, who interchanges between the vocal styles of both genres throughout. There is also, however, an element of diversity to this release. ‘No God, No Master’ is an all-out death metal affair with swathes of blastbeats in tow, while the riffs found on somewhat tiresome closer ‘Under The Floor’ are more groove-based. ‘Dilapidated Soul’, on the other hand, is a completely different beast altogether. Far less unhinged than the other tracks, its lack of pace triggers the emergence of an unfamiliar sense of atmosphere.

When analysing ‘Inhaling The Ashes’ as a whole, it becomes clear that the technical skill of the members of Dripback, and the formidable impact of their particular brand of destructive hardcore-infused death metal, cannot be questioned. The one major problem with this debut EP, however, is that although the band’s willingness to blend elements of different types of heavy music looks original on paper, in reality there does not appear to be anything new on offer here. When listening to ‘Inhaling The Ashes’, at times it is difficult to avoid the observation that this has all been done before, and this is especially true of the more death-metal oriented elements of the EP. With this in mind, one can only hope that Dripback harness their hardcore inclinations on future releases, as this is the area in which they truly thrive.

Rating – 7


About JJPorter

JJ is a 20-year-old student hailing from Scotland, who lives and breathes music. His favourite genres include a variety of styles of metal, as well as hardcore, punk, and just about everything in between. Contact JJPorter on Twitter or via Email.

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