Review Summary: Anything you can do I can do better.6 of 7 thought this review was well written
The constructs of the punk scene has always contained a lingering stench of sexist ideals, held by the predominate male demographic. I myself never fully understood the reasoning behind isolating a group, based solely on gender, but attribute it to a product of the time. If anything, music should be a commodity where differences need to be set aside, because of its unification that can reach everyone. It’s not to say a lot hasn’t been done to crack the glass ceiling. In fact, some of the most respected icons of the movement are women. The leaps towards equality have been positively staggering, making feminist heroes out of the brave who stood against the grain.
Though, it will never be truly shattered until those bearing the Venus sign are fairly judged, based merely on their artist merit. Then again, it’s definitely fueled the drive of many who’ve successfully proven they’re not just the same, but superior in some cases. Los Angeles based punkers, The Distillers, launched a commanding breed from those years of oppression, bringing Brody Dalle to the forefront. The intimidating presence she possessed earned her status as a force to be reckoned with through epitomizing a take no prisoner’s attitude. In a relatively short career, the band demolished many barriers and surpassed levels never thought achievable.
The testament to The Distiller’s legacy resonates in their final album, Coral Fang
, which saw moderate commercial praise from moving to a major label. In true punk fashion, the members did things on their terms alone, refusing to forgo their abrasive sound, and selecting a cover image that had to be censored in stores. The musicianship might’ve adhered to a standard expectation of their caliber, but it was painstakingly delivered far beyond the reach of the outshined competition. The hard to master component, giving them the edge, was how flawlessly they found a median between packing such a vicious punch and still remaining easily accessible.
The most devastating weapon in their arsenal should come as no surprise, given the aforementioned topic, and the way it’s dangerously wielded is anarchy incarnate. It’s difficult to think of a more badass female vocalist than Brody Dalle, who brought such a distinctive talent, when the band ruled a somewhat stagnant era with an iron first. The flooring barks harnessed within her harsh yells is enough to make recipients do a double take. But it’s when blood-curdling screams hit that the bite sinks in deep. The title track is a perfect personification of channeled aggression, also revealing low tone cleans mainly saved for the infectiously jarring portions.
The rest of the collective feed off each other, to a point where it almost feels as if the energetic paces of jerking songs like “Die On A Rope” will end up causing whiplash. The majority of Coral Fang’s
length features down tuned rhythmic guitar, complimenting gritty leads over bombastic bass flows, submerged in chaotic drums. A mainstream highlight of the album without a doubt is “Beat Your Heart Out,” impressively illustrating the band’s ear for harmonization, which invades your brain. It’s not a constant foray of pulsating jams, seeing as “The Gallow of God” and “The Hunger” takes things down a notch, but bitter intrusions never begin to falter.
As the album comes full circle, the impact of the band’s existence is evident. With a little research to anyone in the dark, it’s rather easy to see why they should be revered. There’s certainly a lot of change that has taken shape since their untimely departure, but like those that came before them, active torch runners owe a bit of gratitude. Especially concerning Brody Dalle, who may not yet be fully appreciated on a grand scale, but will undoubtedly serve as symbol for female empowerment in the punk community in due time. So even though The Distillers are long gone, the mark they made is awaiting passersby’s, very much like a diamond in the rough.