ReviewsDragdown - Dominate (Self-Released)

Dragdown – Dominate (Self-Released)

Formed in 2016 and having released a full-length and two prior EPs as well as a number of singles as well, it was only through a random YouTube recommendation that Dragdown came into this scribe’s line of sight. Dominate is their most recent EP, a six song trip through some visceral metalcore/melodic death metal inspired waters that has a very modern feel to it that plays into a variety of different approaches.

As lead-off “Terror” opens, it doesn’t take long to gather that Dragdown is going for some grit with their approach to the genre. Swirling, near-death metal riffing and frantic drums give way for vocalist Aikoku to unleash some hellish growls. Bits of groove provide some slowdown to the blasts in the otherwise unrelenting track that wants nothing more than to steamroll everything in its path. “Leave of Die” leans further into the groovy side of the band’s sound, easing off the blast pedals and instead focusing on some melodic hooks with some meaty riffing. The track does build up to some quicker moments, but groove is its main weapon. “Gougoku” brings back the urgent tempos to the forefront, but changes it up in that Aikoku moves into some cleaner vocals, which make for an excellent contrast to the blasting drumwork and melodeath-inspired riffing behind her. “Kemuri” also moves between fierce roars and gentle singing, but in a more modern and groovy setting, accompanied by some stronger and eerie electronic enhancements.

Standing firmly on the heavier side of the metalcore/melodic death metal divide, Dragdown still manage to operate in a manner that gives them plenty of diversity in their approach to songwriting. Switching between more blunt force death metal ferocity and modern grooves, not to mention playing off the cleans and harsh vocals, Dominate covers plenty of bases without diluting Dragdown’s sound.  It’s a shame they have been flying so far below the radar, as their command of more extreme elements and eneregetic grooves should provide plenty of appeal for anyone looking for more modern metal with some backbone to it.

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