Monday, 11 August 2014

Drunk Dad - Ripper Killer (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 1/7/2014
Label: Eolian Empire

‘Ripper Killer Vinyl/DD track listing:
1). Five Pack
2). Life's Work
3). Fuck in Garbage
4). Light a Fire
5). S.O.U.
6). Ripper Killer
7). Worthless
8). Whiskey Liver


Portland's one and only fuck-you-all-wave group, is on a seemingly unstoppable trajectory. In the last two years they have hard-won the turned heads and knowing nods of enthusiastic youngsters and old cynics alike with their all-out assaults on rock and convention. Their art-fucked sludgy hardcore free-jazz noise rock is as unclassifiable as it is enthralling, the splendid result of a rare new band that not only knows what it wants but how to get it.

Hatched at long disintegrating Portland punk house/venue Failhaus in 2010 -- at first an almost homage, albeit a convincing one, to their Northwest heavy heroes -- DRUNK DAD quickly shoved their own way forward, dragging their dirty NW rock roots through sludge and noise and then mashing them together with metallic hardcore and avant diversions to form their own crusty scuzzcore. Their leavings, including a cassette-only Failhaus EP on Stankhouse Records and subsequent Morbid Reality 7" on Eolian Empire,  have raked in accolades from all levels of media, as a “strategy of fomented eclecticism -- push each influence hard enough, and they’ll eventually crumble into one another” by Pitchfork, “brilliantly energetic” by Echoes and Dust, “a pretzel-like intersection of genre super-highways that go in all directions at once” by the Portland Mercury, and “an off-kilter, barely-tethered mass of sludge/crust/whateverthefuck that is as delightful as it is shoeless n' shambling” by Last Rites.

Not known for going easy, in the past year DRUNK DAD went at it even harder, culminating in their first full-length and gnarliest, most inventive, expansive, and—dare we say?—sophisticated record yet. With their first LP Ripper Killer, DRUNK DAD breaks down the stifling genre walls of yore and rewires the wreckage into a megaheavy alloy of scuzz, filth, and noise in a knock-down, drag-out war of ill will wrapped in a nasty bow. The album includes heavy collaborations with local Eolian harsh noise artist, REDNECK, who contributes to the entire album and even bears his own track, "Worthless."

The Band:

Dane Herrin | guitar, vocals
Jose De Lara | Guitar
Anthony Ritchey | Bass
Joseph Naylor | Drums


About a year ago, I got to review an EP that was pure audio filth.  Seriously, I felt as though I had to check my speakers to see if some kind of weird ooze hadn’t slithered out from them as a result of my playing that crazed sound.  That EP was ‘Morbid Reality’ by Portland filth mongers Drunk Dad, and now they’re back with their belts unlooped from their pants and wrapped around their hands, ready to tan the hides of the listening public with ‘Ripper Killer’, their brand-new full-length album. 

And what an album it is.  Taking off from where ‘Morbid Reality’ stopped, ‘Ripper Killer’ is every bit as nihilistic, antagonistic, and downright filthy as the debut, but with an added crust of depraved anger.  These guys have dredged the murkiest, most haunted musical swamplands and returned with a twisted grin and a tale to tell.  If you like your hardcore punk mixed with a Mike IX 90s drug cocktail and a spoonful of fuck you, Drunk Dad are the band for you. 

By the looks of things, Drunk Dad have set about making themselves into the most radio unfriendly unit you have ever heard, and for that I salute them.  They are an avatar of counter-culture credo, a big middle finger in the air and pointed directly at the mass-marketed, pasteurised and fully-skimmed horseshit that is popular music these days.  Have you ever felt angry about the musical trends of today?  Drunk Dad have- check out ‘Fuck In Garbage’ and see how angry real people can get.  To my ears, it sounds like Nirvana’s ‘Scentless Apprentice’ spliced with Conan’s ‘Total Conquest’, a vile and terrifying mix indeed. 

Could there be a harder, rawer album this year than ‘Ripper Killer’?  I doubt it.  The titular track on the album is a hate-filled, near-eight minutes of rolling drums, volcanic vocals and guitars that saw like a rusty knife against your spine.  It is loud, and when it slinks into subdued sections, they seem to speak more loudly than any late night back alley scream in the unknown dark.  Dare you step into the dark and find out from where that noise emanated?  If you do, filth and fury await, I guarantee it. 

‘Ripper Killer’ is Drunk Dad showing the world at large how dark things can get.  This album is a testament to raw feelings, brute reactions and extreme honesty.  Drunk Dad got ripped- I suggest you grow a pair and do the same, too. 

Words by: Chris Markwell

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