Don Caballero
Punkgasm


2.0
poor

Review

by Tyler Munro EMERITUS
August 28th, 2008 | 31 replies | 10,693 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Forget Don Cab, this isn't even worthy of the Fucking Champs.

Excluding the fact that I only owned one of their albums, at 16 you probably could have said Don Caballero was one of my favourite bands. Naturally, you could also have assumed that I was a pretty high on Damon Che. And you'd be right, in fact you could go so far as to say I thought he was more or less a god behind his awkwardly set-up kit. If you told me four years ago that Damon Che would eventually be the one to drag Don Caballero's name through the mud, well, I'd probably have a few choice words for you. If you haven't caught on yet, that's more or less exactly what's happened. Don Cab split up, and rather than retiring the name and moving on, Che decided, "hey, why not exploit the name for my own personal gain?!" This is not a direct quote, mind you. So now here we are at Don Cab 2.0's Volume 2, and the second spin with the new line-up continues to find new ways to sully their name, including breaking the once cardinal rule of including vocals, vocals that are not the instrumentalised grunts and shouts of albums' past, but actual lyrics. Singing and all.

Even when they try to stick to tradition, Punkgasm disappoints. Ian Williams' dissonant and once-trademarked guitar-work is replaced by Eugene Doyle's clearer, borderline metallic tone. Without the element of static, distortion and power, songs like "Loudest Shop Vac in the World" sound puny and homogenised. Attempts at re-creating the traditional Don Caballero sound feel filtered and prefabricated. Furthermore, they're just not fun to listen to. This Don Caballero is essentially Damon Che and a bunch of session musicians, and that's exactly how it sounds. Where an album like What Burns Never Returns utilized playful and sometimes silly guitar lines to ease the tension, Punkgasm instead plods along with schmaltzy choruses and meandering leads. The lack of playfulness once exhibited by lines such as the playful, imitative take on childish cries of "nananana booboo" stultify the songs into overlong fluctuations between flat-sounding math rock and irritating, seizure-like leads (Bulk Eye). The guitar work gives off vibes of this being nothing more than Damon Che's little playtoy. The bass guitar may well not exist much of the time. With the six and four stringed instruments sounding so by the book, Punkgasm is little more than Che using the band as a vehicle to work on drumlines and keep his career afloat. "*** Kids Galore" only supports this theory; it's a minute long drum solo. For the uninitiated, Don Caballero was once against solos, going so far as to indicate in the linear notes that there would be as they were "not a jazz band".

Punkgasm's most crucial fault is that it's just so unnecessary. Attempts at playing within the original band's barriers result in trite, cheap sounding knockoffs and the linear, dredge-jr melodious songs are offensive to the band's legacy and flat out mediocre. Granted Punkgasm is as technically impressive as you'd expect, with the drums being notably above-average, but without the fun little nuances of their past work, the technicality just isn't sufficient enough to keep the album interesting. Don Caballero no longer feels like a unit, primarily because they aren't, and if there's no synchronicity, what's left? Let me answer that for you: an extremely talented drummer playing around at the expense of a once special band. More specifically listeners are left with a choppy, flowless collection of stale sounding math rock songs. In short, Punkgasm is what's left, and it's pretty damn underwhelming.



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user ratings (52)
Chart.
2.8
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
August 28th 2008



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Wrote this up on my lunch break (the same day I wrote up the Slipknot and Game reviews). Not confident in saying the melodious songs are dredg-like but it's the first thing that came to mind so im sticking with it. Also, I realize instrumentalised isn't a word. Oh well.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2008



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

2 comments, 44 views

willfellmarsy
August 29th 2008



3849 Comments


/pos

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2008



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

No but really I mean I think you are bashing this a little too much

Tyler
Emeritus
August 29th 2008



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Nah. It's not fun, it's not interesting, it's not inventive and it's not necessary. It's a cash-in, if anything.

Abaddon2005
August 29th 2008



684 Comments


yeah, I agree with Iluv. what I've heard of this wasn't as good as past work but not that bad.

The Jungler
August 29th 2008



4827 Comments


Don Cab II rules, and what else i've heard by this band is good too, but i'm not interested in this.
i thought the review was good.

HighandDriving
August 29th 2008



3261 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'd say this is abit better then World Class Listerning Problem.



Digging: Nightmares - Suspiria

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
August 29th 2008



862 Comments


Damn, that's dissapointing. I was looking forward to this. Still get it though probably.

psilocybin
August 29th 2008



74 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I couldn't agree more. This was such a disappointment. The new era of Don Cab relative to the old is synonymous with Cryptopsy's transformation...

BlindWriting
August 30th 2008



102 Comments


God this is depressing. They peaked at What Burns Never Returns and Damon Che could never get his act together post-break up. He's enormously talented, which makes this even more of a shame. He should join a new band (without writing any of the music except for the drums) in a different genre than this stale "experimental" sound, before he suffocates in the creative rut that he's dug himself.

Zebra
Moderator
August 30th 2008



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

this is a travesty.
the songs with vocals are the worst.

P13
August 30th 2008



1327 Comments


wtf Punkgasm

ohcleverhansyou
August 30th 2008



885 Comments


This sounds horrible, I almost considered getting this. That's not the case anymore.

ujuj
August 31st 2008



37 Comments


this is a travesty.

Dayvan Cowboy
September 3rd 2008



63 Comments


Leave dredg out of this.

lol@ song 2.

gbowles
September 9th 2008



70 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I actually thought it was good. I liked the band that the new Don Cab musicians came from, Creta Bourzia. I like both the old and the new Don Cab. What few people don't bring up is there was a lineup before Ian Williams was in the band, and it's always been Damon Che's vehicle for drumming. So what? I think people really have politicized this whole thing, and the tracks that have vocals both address this and actually sound pretty good. I really don't think Damon Che gives an F how you review this. That said, I liked World Class Listening Problem a bit more, because it had two guitarists. This new one the bass player has gone over to baritone guitar I think, hence why you don't hear a bass. What's sad is if he would have changed the name of the band, you probably would have given this a better review.

Tyler
Emeritus
September 9th 2008



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

What few people don't bring up is there was a lineup before Ian Williams was in the band, and it's always been Damon Che's vehicle for drumming.

Firstly, I'm aware that there was a line-up pre-Williams. My point is regarding familiarity and sound, so it's irrelevant. Secondly, the fact that Damon's always uniquely handled the "leads" from behind the kit doesnt necessarily mean it was always a vehicle for him to play around. That's something I felt carried through stronger with this album.
I really don't think Damon Che gives an F how you review this

Okay.
That said, I liked World Class Listening Problem a bit more, because it had two guitarists. This new one the bass player has gone over to baritone guitar I think, hence why you don't hear a bass.

If the bassist moved over to baritone guitar, wouldn't that mean there were two guitarists?
What's sad is if he would have changed the name of the band, you probably would have given this a better review.

Irrelevant. The argument of the faults being relative to the name arent worth bringing up because if I wasn't supposed to make the connection between past and present they wouldn't have kept the name in the first place. Secondly, had they changed the name most of the criticisms would ring just as true, since it'd still sound like a third rate Don Cab with some lacklustre vocal experimentation and lifeless math-wankery.

HighandDriving
September 9th 2008



3261 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

What few people don't bring up is there was a lineup before Ian Williams was in the band, and it's always been Damon Che's vehicle for drumming.


Ya but all those pre William 7" sucked, Damon will always spew his stupid shit but Don Cab really started gaining speed thanks to William.



Wizard
September 14th 2008



19231 Comments


Good review Coke. I don't really care where these guys were at one point or another in their career, the instrumentals alone make this album worth listening to. Kind of reminds me of Dysrhythmia.

Digging: Monarch - Sabbracadaver



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