Drugs of Faith: Architectural Failures

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Drugs of Faith: Architectural Failures
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Drugs of Faith: Architectural Failures
Grindcore, Hardcore
Malokul Records
November 12th, 2013
Release length: 10:32
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Founded in 2003, Drugs of Faith is a Virginia based three-piece of Hardcore and Grindcore rage and rebellion. Back in 2006, the band was picked up by Selfmadegod Records to issue their debut self-titled full-length, which was followed up in 2011 with Corroded. Some may have heard of the group thanks to the 2007 split release with Antigama, as well as their contribution to the This Comp Kills Fascists Volume 2 compilation issued by Relapse Records. For 2013, the trio return with a brand new limited pressing (only three hundred being made) one-side EP titled Architectural Failures. It was produced by Kevin Bernsten, mastered by the legendary Scott Hull, and issued through DIY Disciples of Christ label Malokul Records. With such a strong history and a rich technical aspect in the studio, does this release stand as one of their best, or is it just not worth your time?

Architectural Failures finds a rich twanging bass at work, giving the aggressive music a dirty presence amid the solid digital production quality. Each track has its share of catchy riffs laced with varied bouts of abrasive screaming. “The Incumbent” hammers away with fast paced riffs that tread in and out of traditional Grindcore paces, throwing some blast beats into the mix a little later, but isn’t afraid to throw in a Hardcore groove that ushers in a dark sense of urgency. “Paper Trails” incorporates some darker Post-Hardcore melodies into the mix. Vocal harmonies help accentuate the atmosphere the band is trying to create, though they are kept to a minimum, allowing the music itself to play out a what sounds like a sad tale, getting more depressing the closer you get to the end, but not really suiting the commanding message it started with.

“Insanity” hits hard with some short lived blast beats, shifting into a mid-tempo groove that carries a hint of Punk rebellion to the main verses. Much of the track feels a little restrained, growing darker around a minute in, but the catchy drums and guitar work will have listeners fighting the urge to start dancing or create a circle pit at times. Towards the last twenty-four second there is some tension being mounted, but the explosion at the end feels held back, making it not really worth the journey. Finally, “Placing Bets” has more Grindcore elements at work, but in an experimental manner at first that really stands out. About half way through, things slow down with a subtle two-step Hardcore approach with cleaner vocals that isn’t bad, but just doesn’t fit, coming off like a polar opposite that stands back instead of acting as the leader.

While the songs here aren’t necessarily bad, they just have incredibly poor execution. Drugs of Faith really seem to not only try to do too much, but also just have the songs fall short from having the kind of impact they want. Most of the recording finds the atmosphere playing a huge role, and at times it’s very distinct and effective. That is until it shifts from one emotion to the polar opposite and basically ruins what impact was made. “Placing Bets” is a nice example, hitting hard with solid Grindcore elements that offer some chaos, but giving way to a very passive, almost whiny Hardcore and Punk tendency that crushes the aggressive start, and makes the similar climax lack any real meaning. Another is “The Incumbent,” which had plenty of genuine anger the first minute, but then dulls itself down with mid-tempo two-stepping that is sad, but seems more tacked on before a brief period of aggression that leaves you feeling like there was more to the earlier call-to-arms than was told.

Given the quality of their previous efforts, Architectual Failures is actually a major letdown. While the atmospheres Drugs of Faith incorporate usually are effective in setting a believable mood, there’s just not enough time focused on one specific element to get the point across. One minute you want to punch someone in the face or rebel, the next you find yourself transitioning away from anything that could make any sort of impact, leaving you with the feeling that some whiny band that is far from Emo, but would rather cut themselves than have the balls to command change, poorly spliced their material into certain songs. Had the transitions been better, and more time spent focusing on one specific or even remotely similar environment per song, this could have been a very strong release. Instead, a few spins with Architectural Failures and you’re pretty much ready to walk away and throw on the self-titled Drugs of Faith instead.

01. The Incumbent – 2:55
02. Insanity – 2:24
03. Paper Trails – 3:13
04. Placing Bets – 2:00
Initial Pressing Score: 4/10

Drugs of Faith
Drugs of Faith

Digital review copy of this release provided by Malokul Records via Earsplit PR.