19 Feb 2020

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DRXNES - EP Review: Rattlesnake

21 Feb 2019 // A review by Kris Raven

Whanganui 5-piece DRXNES released their latest EP Rattlesnake in January, beginning the year with three incredibly impressive and diverse tracks that take influence from multiple rock and metal sub genres but imprint the DRXNES stamp of solid song craftmanship, complexity and originality.

The title track Rattlesnake opens with a hiss and then a roar of an opening riff that is set for the mosh to open up. There’s a bit of a Deftones Adrenaline and early Soulfly vibe with the intro that launches with an epic high scream. The verses drop into a more chill setting, with solid beats from drummer Ethan Coleman and some tasty intermingling guitars creating an ambient and atmospheric vibe with rolling bass. Vocalist Rob Reynolds has such a range of vocals throughout not just this song but all three. Combining soaring clean and well set varied background vocals, massive screams and gutturals and a modern rock rap style. He tells the story through a variety of vocal channels, with a lot of metaphor and depth to the lyrics, “the venom tastes red and blue, the feeling toward me and you”. The chorus packs a punch, catchy and full of melody making its way into a massive metalcore breakdown, heavy but also melodic, Reynolds vocals crossing over between scream and vocal cries. Liam Robinson’s bass provides a small rumbling break before moving into a guitar solo (Who doesn’t love a guitar solo!) before the final climax, ending with a heavy groove laden outro showcasing yet more of Rob’s vocal talents.

Zero is the longest track and just builds and builds into an epic. It is my favourite track of the three. The composition is very impressive with well layered intricate guitar parts and a heavy use of guitar wah wah. The balance of lead and rhythm guitar parts I really enjoy, both guitars have featured riffs and hooks and it's not just the same common chugs and breakdowns. The guitar work of both Issac Chamberlain and Adam Robinson really sets the tone of Zero along with Rob Reynolds repertoire of vocals. Coleman's beats maintaining the solid foundation throughout with an Abe Cunningham feel and solid technique from bassist Liam Robinson. The first half of the song moves between rap vocals and melodic cleans, there is a nu-metal feel, buts it a good feel! The lyrics are thoughtful and provocative, “waking up to the life that I left behind”, “take me back to the start, take me back to the heart”. There is a lot to take in, vocally and lyrically and it seems to be the more emotional track of the three. As the song starts ascending, the distortion builds and the wah guitar leads move in and out with Reynolds vocals moving between powerful cleans and some harder hitting rap. As well as a fitting breakdown it features guitar solos sprinkled throughout, the outro in particular has an outstanding guitar piece that ends the song as it began.

Third and final track Metanoia (the MungBeanz remix) was originally from their previous release in 2018 entitled Home. I would also suggest listening to this (another strong 3 tracks) but Rattlesnake sees the game lifted even higher. I am not a huge fan of remixes, it seemed very common place for rock and metal bands to do this in the 90’s and 2000’s and there were a lot of hits and misses. However, because of the diversity of these songs, it sits in their nicely and adds another element and flavour to the EP. Featuring heavy breakdowns, build ups and bass drops with vocals falling in and out, heavily distorted with the line “I just want something I can feel inside” featuring throughout. If you want modern, interesting, original, quality heavy music, then get listening!

DRXNES self-produced this latest effort with mixing from NZ metal heavyweight producer Zorran Mendonsa and the production is well executed. I cannot recommend enough checking out DRXNES, they are supporting Skinny Hobos for two shows including their home town in March so get out to a show near you!

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )



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