Review Summary: First review for the album, and for the author. Hardcore and Deathcore meet in perfect harmony.
In the hardcore scene, there are a lot of kids complaining that the hardcore isn't heavy enough, that it should lean more towards deathcore basically. DOAK essentially fulfills that need for a heavy hardcore straight out of Chino Hill, California. Classic two-stepping with some very interesting breakdowns and even some chorus-type sections (I'll Keep Flying).
The intro to the album is a pretty standard intro for the genre they are a part of; an audio clip of some sort of commotion, followed by some writing (a suicide note presumably), followed by a gunshot and some sort of gory noise in the background. The rest of the intro really gives a good idea of what’s to come on the rest of the album. Even those who have never listened to hardcore or deathcore or any strain of those genres will have a hard time not feeling a bit bouncy.
DOAK recently released a video for their "hit song", for lack of a better term, called "Dirty Diana". This is the track following the intro and it is also the only song that made it off there first release "Anthems". Remixed and mastered, this song has gained a lot of ground since its initial appearance; a musical improvement on everyone’s part with some serious mosh-ability and throwdown-ability.
The onslaught of heaviness doesn't stop there, the album is loaded with brutal goodness. Tracks like "Corrupted State of Mind" and "My Biggest Fear" show the true gritty style of this young band. This is contrasted by tracks like "I'll Keep Flying" which stays away from the standard breakdown after breakdown of most core bands coming out these days. Instead, they throw in catchy group vocals with a more upbeat sort of breakdown type section where they avoid the regular ones and zeroes on the fret-board and substitute a more melodic chugging pattern.
Although a more progressive metal or rock listener may pin this album as "simple" due to the lack of shredding or complex drum patterns, the simplicity gives you a more relatable sound. They take something that isn't terribley hard to play and make it extremely catchy and ensure it flows flawlessly.
The vocals are raw, the guitar is full and chunky, the bass cuts through and is fully audible (unlike the majority of core releases) and the drums are well mic'd and the triggering is well done, not too clicky and not too boomy. The production on this album, in comparison, is a gigantic step up from "Anthems" which got very hectic and out of time.
My personal favourite track is "All Day Everyday Fantasies" due to its contrasting styles captured in one tune. It opens with very Ghost Inside-esque chords leading up to a vocal break: "But she said, 'I'm not just another slut!'". This is punctuated with a crushing chug breakdown right into an even heavier breakdown. Call me crazy, but don't core listeners enjoy that? I know.
This is an album that has been absorbing my attention for about a week now and i couldn't be happier. It has become an impediment on my music listening because it is all I can enjoy right now. This is the kind of music I've been looking for and I am very glad to have found it. So a special shout-out to Kick for introducing me to this band.
Any core listener will enjoy this heavy, honest and well-constructed album.