This was supposed to be Drain’s year! The Santa Cruz hardcore livewires are notorious for their anarchic, ridiculous, fun-as-hell live shows, and they were going to be all over hardcore’s busy summer-festival circuit, stealing shows from bigger names. That’s almost certainly not going to happen now. But Drain have just come out with their debut album, and it’s a total ass-kicker, so they’ve got that going for them.
Drain released their debut EP Over Thinking in 2016, and their sound hasn’t really changed since then. They play fast, bouncy, feral old-school hardcore that nods to the giddy crossover-thrash sound of the late-’80s. There’s a whole lot of Suicidal Tendencies in their sound, though the hard, feral splat of singer Sam Ciaramitaro’s voice sounds nothing like what Mike Muir did with that band.
On California Cursed, though, Drain have clearly elevated their sound. The production, from Nails/Twitching Tongues/Disgrace member Taylor Young, is bigger and fuller, and it leaves room for things like the ominous Kirk Hammet-style instrumental “Hollister Daydreamer.” But when the band is in full attack mode — which is most of the time — they sound harder than they ever have before. California Cursed is just a great hardcore album, one of the best of the year thus far. We’ve already posted the early tracks “Sick One” and “Hyper Vigilance,” and you can stream the whole LP below.
California Cursed is out now on Revelation Records.