Friday, 9 January 2015

Drifter - Violent At Altitude (Album Review)

Violent At Altitude cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 15th December 2015
Violent At Altitude – Track Listing

1.Violent At Altitude 02:34
2.Cool Breeze 02:26
3.Hindsight 02:58
4.Bad 02:28
5.Prisoner 03:02
6.Devil Digger 03:54
7.Drugs 02:45
8.Russian Roulette 01:44
9.Another Life 04:26
10.Bi Polar 02:41
11.Dirty Word 02:01
12.Ten Bears 02:07
13.So Long 03:01


From the damp swamplands of Melbourne, Australia, three blokes have crawled out of the fog to come together as DRIFTER!

Dark, cutting and insolent, Dan King (vox/guitar), Troy Dawson (Bass), and Dave Payne (drums) with an uncompromising gentle mayhem and a dangerous smile, have eaten the fruit of the ages and spat out a sound that will put some fuzz on your muff and make you long for the touch of flannelette. These fine young lads are ready to unleash a new blend of punk, rock and partying!!!

Drifter’s live shows have been described on and off stage as loud, on edge, and tight with a loose undertone, leaving the audience unsure of what is to come next. This rawness has seen them increase their local following and gain reputation as a must see local act.

The lazy-underground transient three's debut EP HEAD consists of 5 tracks, it’s short, loud and soaked in wailing feedback and distortion. Stay tuned for the release of their debut album in 2014 !!


Dan King- guitar/vocals,
Troy Dawson - bass/vocals,
Dave Payne - drums/vocals


Drifter's style of Stoner Rock owes a lot to Punk Rock and classic Hard Rock as the bands sound has a distinctive hard-hitting energy that is very hard to ignore. Their debut album may not sound the most original of sounds but it's a highly addictive ride where the music speaks for itself.

Opening tracks – Violent At Altitude and Cool Breeze – sees Drifter unleashing classic Aussie High Voltage Rock which that country is well known for. The Punk Rock vocals adds a nice violent twist which has a moshpit sensibility where you just let yourself go. Holding this altogether is slabs of heavy Stoner Rock riffs which Drifter have a great passion for. It's played at a fast pace where the music makes you feel so alive. The production is very punk rock as it's lo-fi at times but it sill sounds loud and angry through out.

Drifter venture into heavier riffs during the course of the album as they flex their musical vision for everyone to see. The band have managed to capture the raw and violent energy of 70s Punk Rock and give it a 21st Century Stoner Rock makeover. The lyrics maybe a little bit sloppy at times but they still grab you by the throat to give you a good musical kicking. The thing that I dig the most is the vocals. Drifter may not have the most polished of vocals but they're really passionate and they keep you entertained through out the album. It's quite brave for Drifter to have 3 vocalists in the band as some bands struggle to keep the momentum going but Drifter have no complaints from me on that level.

It's cool that most of the songs only last 3 to 4 mins each as Drifter pack a lot of great ideas within their songs. Anything longer and boredom may start to creep in. Drifter don't waste time in playing heavy music as they unleash a barrage of unstoppable riffs. One of the standout tracks has to be – Devil Digger - A progressive Stoner Metal/Punk Rock odyssey with hints of Mastodon showing up. This song shows you what Drifter are capable of when they put their minds to it. Though most of the album stays in the realm of Punk Rock/Stoner Rock territory.

Violent At Altitude is a great album to showcase Drifter's talent. Though I would love to see Drifter venture more into the progressive rock sounds of Devil Digger for future releases. Other than that, this album is an excellent album to check out.

Thanks to Anthony at Desert Highways for the promo. The album is available to buy on CD/DD via BandCamp now.

Words by Steve Howe

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