Cabal (DK)
Drag Me Down


3.5
great

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (348 Reviews)
April 13th, 2020 | 27 replies


Release Date: 04/03/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Down a slope, up a mountain.

When I reviewed Cabal’s debut full-length, Mark Of Rot a couple of years ago, I had some pretty mixed feelings on how this Danish death metal band would take their amalgamation of sounds and build on it; and thus, take it to the next level. Consider my surprise when Drag Me Down rather simplified the band’s output of blackened deathcore meets traditional death metal and moments of djent-y riffs and produced an album that’s not only better than the debut, but stands well above it. Drag Me Down is a cohesive, well-thought and thoroughly enjoyable slab of metal in spite of the disjointed issues that plagued Cabal’s first worldwide unveiling. In having the group’s debut as a direct comparison point it’s easy to see how Drag Me Down is such a worthy successor to the former incoherence that restrained the debut - not because it pushes boundaries, but rather, has shown the band’s identity as it should be.

The record opens in typical fashion. “Gift Givers” is a meaty slab of balls to the wall intensity. After a quick sample of industrialist noise gruff growls punch through a hammer-blow off thick riffs and fierce percussion. The mood is set quickly, promoting a world of raging cacophony. At each turn Cabal’s newest offers a focused streamlining of the debut that came before it. But it’s the album’s third track which offers the most potential. “It Haunts Me (feat. Kim Song Sternkopf)” is fierce down to the core, but builds off the atmosphere that lays waiting under the riffs and caustic screams. Even the use of orchestral staccato as the band reaches for that ever-present use of a breakdown sees the “normal” become just that little “more”.

As I continue with this train of thought; it’s hard to avoid the album’s extended rostering. Cabal’s newest offering is chock full of features pulled from the modern relevance of today’s metal scene. This time around, cuts like the djent-y, titular “Drag Me Down”, which features Australian screamer, Jamie Hails of Polaris fame and “Bitter Friend” (which showcases Trivium’s Matt Heafy) add diverse, yet completely sensible changes to the band’s levels of heaviness. In having to modify the track’s respective styles, the listener benefits from seeing the same face of a coin from different angles. And while the album may have [more than] its fair share of a-typical, borderline cliche genre tropes, it’s the subtle, yet clear increased levels of diversity that carry the listener from beginning to end. Matt Heafy’s contributions on “Bitter Friend” are of particular note; while the man himself may have been constantly developing his vocal style (see; Ascendancy to The Crusade to Shogun and Silence In The Snow) his efforts here define the back end of this particular track with some of his best screams to date (no hyperbole).

The changes in the band’s sound may not be instantly clear on paper, but the sophomore is dramatically better than the debut. And yet, Cabal’s potential hasn’t been fully achieved here. Overall, Drag Me Down is a more than enjoyable foray into the world of deathcore, keeping its roots into the soundscapes that has defined death metal over the course of the last thirty or so years while bringing in some really modern twists to bolster their sound. It’s not perfect, but it’s a worthy addition for a group looking to build on their foundations and more importantly, learn from them. Cabal have had the easy run down a slope, now it's time for the hard slog up the face of the mountain.



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user ratings (31)
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2020


13080 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5



Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2MWDSWr

Bandcamp: www.cabalcph.bandcamp.com

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2020


12501 Comments


You makin a play for my djenty-boi crown? Lol, great review though. Sounds like something I might enjoy.

tyman128
April 13th 2020


2268 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review Nocte! This has been on my list for a while, and this write-up definitely piques my interest for sure. Gonna try and give this a spin today

tyman128
April 13th 2020


2268 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Definitely have to spin this again, but this was pretty solid on first listen! It got a bit samey for me at times, but overall it stayed fairly consistent and had its own moments of uniqueness. I think "It Haunts Me" is my favorite for now, definitely made the biggest impression on me first listen

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2020


13080 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

--You makin a play for my djenty-boi crown--



That would mean an ascension from the depths of hell. Not sure I'm cut out for that.

DDDeftoneDDD
April 13th 2020


15285 Comments


this one?

Digging: Fractal Generator - Macrocosmos

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2020


13080 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this one what?



wait, I got it - some cross-thread conversations up and about now. No mate, not this one.

DDDeftoneDDD
April 13th 2020


15285 Comments


ahah okaaaay

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2020


15430 Comments


Nice review, as always.

I've been meaning to check this for a few days now. I'll take a peek this week.

Digging: Fractal Generator - Macrocosmos

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2020


13080 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

No time quite like the present.

Willie
Moderator
April 13th 2020


18888 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

I'm probably one of the few that likes the old one better than the new one.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2020


13080 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I do remember you lightly hyping the debut Trey.



Willie
Moderator
April 13th 2020


18888 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Yeah. When I first heard the debut, I loved it and thought it was around a '4'. It grew off of me after more listens, but I still like it. It has a better atmosphere than this one.

tyman128
April 13th 2020


2268 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I’ll check if I fit in that minority, gotta heck the debut too because I was pleasantly surprised by this

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2020


13080 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I dare say you'd find it to your liking tyman

tyman128
April 13th 2020


2268 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

probably, Willie's description of a "better atmosphere" really catches my eye... I'm a sucker for some good metalcore/deathcore stuff with a good atmospheric presence

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2020


13080 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It has about the same amount of atmospheric chops but I think the songs are put together better here. The debut was ambitious.

tyman128
April 13th 2020


2268 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ah that makes sense. Gonna jam the debut soon after I finish my schoolwork for the day, it'll be good to jam while I take care of some financial aid stuff

Willie
Moderator
April 13th 2020


18888 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

I'd have to disagree. The atmosphere is much less impactful on this album, IMO. The songs are definitely a little better put together here, but to me it doesn't make up for the loss of atmosphere.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2020


13080 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

How does the idea/style inclusion rate for you Trey? The debut took a slamming approach of djent and black metal-ish walls of sound - while this tones that all back into a better portion, focusing on a more traditional deathcore sound.



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