Album Review: Drag Me Down by Cabal (Long Branch Records)

Danish heavy metallers, Cabal, are set to release their sophomore album, Drag Me Down, on the 3rd of April via Long Branch Records.

Cabal are one of the most brutal and promising heavy acts hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark. The band aims to create a visceral and doom-laden atmosphere throughout both their music and visual expression. The production is crystal clear, whilst the songs draws inspiration from everything from black and death metal to djent and hardcore.

The young band released their debut album, Mark of Rot, in 2018 and have made a name for themselves by playing renowned festivals like Copenhell, Roskilde Festival, Euroblast Festival and Complexity Fest as well as touring Europe, Japan and North America.

Drag Me Down is a dark descent into a personal hell brought to life by crushing instrumentals, an oppressive atmosphere and dark personal lyrics delivered with a relentless intensity, while still leaving room for experimentation and expansion of Cabal’s signature sound. The band are Andreas Bjulver Paarup on vocals with Chris Kreutzfeldt and Arsalan Sakhi on guitars.Malthe Sørensen  is on bass and Nikolaj Kaae Kirk is on drums.

Cabal Drag Me Down

 

Drag Me Down is 10 tracks of aggressive death metal that occasionally edges into deathcore and even occasionally towards blackened death. Cabal don’t mess about here, laying down track after track of brutality but with plenty of slamming groove and clever little surprises. One of the things that stood out almost instantly on album opener Gift Givers, was how vocal heavy the track was. The singing is harsh and raw, coming in many different tones and from every angle. There is load of backing vocals, high tones, guttural roars and more often coming at you at the same time. It really gives the impression of an army of people all roaring the same line and makes the vocals feel massively layered and like an instrument. This isn’t just the case on Gift Givers, it happens across the whole of Drag Me Down and I love it.

The title track features Jamie Hails (Polaris) and really hits hard with its bassy chunks of groove in the intro. Punchy riffs and more insane vocals make for a banger of a track. The chorus is unexpected in a good way. Staying insanely heavy, the dark and filthy tones make room for a little backing that verges on symphonic creating a hugely impressive soundscape that you won’t have seen coming. It Haunts Me Is nicely paced. Really strong head banging rhythms chock full of slams and slow downs all while the vocals reach depths that must hurt. The backing melody adds an additional layer keeping the sound full and exciting and dripping just a touch of melody over the violence. The power of guest, Kim Song Sternkopf from Møl.

With no respite, Tongues comes at you fast and hard right from the off. The drums sound fantastic here, really booming and shaking through your skull. The melodic backing in the chorus is majestic but simultaneously very sombre and mixed with the sudden high pitched shrieking style of vocals, feels almost black metal.

Cabal really have a wide range of music and skill on show here. Sjælebrand has an atmospheric start and is probably your first breather on the album. It has a bit of a science fiction feel as huge drawn out chords mix with the more ambient atmospherics to create a godlike sound. The slower down delivery of riffs, drums and vocals makes for a really different sound and a bloody good song. It really sounds huge and anthemic. As it builds up in pace and anger, the chugging strings reverb through your body, building up to a chorus that is nothing short of amazing. What a song!

How do you follow that? With The Hangman- of course and a blast of furiously fast metal that plays around with timing. Starting with a slow chug, it suddenly switches the pace up but while staying in the same riff and it is seriously clever. I had to replay it a fair few times, just to admire what they have done here. Once I allowed myself to move on, there was another track full of force in store. Death March is a banger too with a rhythm that you just have to move too. It’s quick and fiery, a bit more in the “core” camp. The layered vocals in the chorus are catchy and stick in your mind alongside the clever riffs throughout the track.

Bitter Friend features Matt Heafy (Trivium) and  has another atmospheric start and a catchy beat that joins in with the backing before turning into ripper of a track. Vocals get spat at you with pace while big bassy hooks and a powerful drum rhythm rattle you to your core. If you aren’t sold on the catchy rhythms fired at you so far, well first of all you have issues, but secondly, Unbound. That intro is pure fire, so catchy and an instant head banger. Inbound is another cracking song on an album full of quality. The vocals are brilliant, still, but I just love how this track constantly drops back into the catchiest of beats.

After so much quality, we reach the ending the line with Demagogue. This ending basically take everything good heard this far and rolls it into a single package. Slower slams start us off before a huge layered chorus adds some quirks to the vocals alongside a little melody. Demagogue is a viciously heavy track covered in fuzz with insane vocal power and instruments that leave you feeling a bit shaken. It’s a top quality metal track and closes out a damn fine album.

Drag Me Down is a special album that deserves lot of praise. Cabal have stuffed this top notch release with some of the heaviest metal you are likely to hear in 2020. Jam packed with intensity and raw emotion, Drag Me Down acts like an antidote, dragging your angers and frustrations out of your soul, and obliterating them in a crescendo of crushing rhythms and primal vocals.

Preorder your copy of this excellent album from Cabal, here.

Cabal Links

FacebookBandcampLong Branch Records




Drag Me Down by Cabal (Long Branch Records)
  • The Final Score - 9/10
    9/10
Sending
User Review
0 (0 votes)
Liked it? Take a second to support Brendan 'Unholydarklotus' Fisher on Patreon!