4 Dec 2020

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Hadees Drudge - Album Review: On Your Knees

23 Aug 2020 // A review by Kev Rowland

Hadees Drudge came together in Wellington in 2018, after a covers band featuring guitarist/songwriter Jason Keeler and drummer Jordan Hotton (previously in Bloodshot) disbanded. Hotton liked the songs he heard from Keeler, so they reached out on social media to find some musicians to form a new band and convinced singer Duane Frew (who had previously released some albums as Nort) and bassist Chris Ewers to come along for the ride. All four musicians are now 100% focused on Hadees Drudge, as can be seen by the release of their debut album in quite a short time frame. When speaking to Keeler about the musical influences on the band I was somewhat surprised to hear he loves Eighties pop as much as he does metal, and he has used this to assist him with building concise song structures, and lists Phil Collins alongside the more expected names of Metallica, Rush, Slayer, Led Zeppelin and Parkway Drive.

Interestingly the band I feel they have the most in common is not contained in that list, namely Sepultura. But whereas the likes of Alien Weaponry are more influenced by the early years, this is much more similar to the more recent times where the Seps have been producing heavy groove metal with less of the ethnic influences. The band have been gigging as much as possible, and it shows in just how tight they are throughout this, they really are a strong unit.

Like all good metal bands, they build from the back, and Hotton provides loads of fills, yet what really caught my ear was the way he often uses some very delicate cymbals to provide a perfect counterbalance to what is happening in the rest of the music. This is something he does at different places within the album, and each time it adds a touch of class without ever making it seem repetitive. With just one guitarist in the band, Ewers has to move between holding down the bottom and providing additional melodies, something he does with ease, providing good depth to the sound. Guitarist Keeler can pick gently when he feels the need, but for the most part it is when he crunches the riffs that he really gets it going, and it is when the band is at full blast that Frew also has the opportunity to shine. He can provide a harshness, and when he mixes it up such as on For You that the band has the most impact. Here he switches between a couple of different musical styles while for most of the song the rest of the guys are playing at a more medium pace, and it is his vocals which are providing the force.

It is when they are there at their heaviest that the band really comes across well. They often switch dynamics within a single piece, and that contrast works well when it is a quieter section against a heavier piece, while Wait For What is the other way around and does not have the same energy and passion. But when the band are in full flight then they are a beast to behold, and one which I am sure becomes even angrier and more brutal onstage. Overall, this is a very interesting album, and a great example of groove metal being taken as a starting point and then polished. Mind you, get to Self Preservation and one can be forgiven for thinking the Ramones had a part to play: the punk energy in most of this song certainly made me smile.

Comment must be made on the production as well, as all the instruments are very well defined indeed, with strong clear sounds. For a self-released debut this is a solid album, and I certainly look forward to catching up with them when they next play Auckland. One for metalheads to investigate.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Hadees Drudge

Hadees Drudge ... This band appeared on the Wellington music scene in late 2018.
They have been rigorous in their promotion since then, including frequent gigs around North and South Islands.

The aspect that listeners notice immediately is that this is a 4 piece band of guitar, bass, drums and vocals. That breaks the norm of so many bands in this genre that have 2 guitars.
Beyond that, the interplay of drums, bass and guitar across the rhythmic structures produces their point of difference.

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