This will be my last “Feedback” article because I am graduating! Thank you to anyone who has ever read my column, I hope it exposed you to some good music and it was a thought-provoking reading experience. I leave you with some upcoming releases that I would have loved to write about in “Feedback” had this column continued.
Drain — “Living Proof” — Epitaph — May 5
This is definitely the release I am most excited about this year. Drain is an exciting band not only in their rise in popularity but in their music. The four tracks released ahead of “Living Proof” show that they are only leaning further into their ability to make high-energy heavy music, perhaps with even more emphasis on the heaviness this time around.
Sharpened into a tight unit by constant touring and many festival slots played to raucous crowds, I anticipate “Living Proof” to be a stronger version of the material on the 2020 album “California Cursed”. This new album will feature more than just another go-round of Drain’s signature style.
One of the singles was a cover of Descendants’ “Good Good Things”, which makes sense for them as a band that wears California on their sleeve but is unexpected as far as sound goes. “Good Good Things” is breezy and singer Sammy Ciaramitaro dials in melodic vocals so effortlessly that it took me a minute to be sure it was him. This band managed to make me actually enjoy a Descendents song for the first time in my life.
Never Ending Game — “Outcry” — Triple B Records — May 12
Do you love riffs that sound like a dumbbell in audio form? Do you also love honest, sensitive lyrics? Then I have a band for you. Never Ending Game is where classic breakdowns meet a modern hunger for music that cuts through the noise with its sincerity. This band is a real deal in both the musical and thematic sense. Their Detroit DNA has built up this band to be a tough contender for one of the most important heavy hardcore bands at the moment.
The three singles from “Outcry” impressed me beyond expectations. Their 2019 album “Just Another Day” is a masterclass and proved that this band could handle a full-length album without coming up short on riffs that are both memorable and mosh-inducing.
Never Ending Game has taken its creative but old-school approach to the next level, most obviously on “Tank On E”, an ode to fighting for a better life with an anthemic hook. The guitar work on “Memories” opens up the chorus and bridge while tightening up the breakdown and a feature from Trapped Under Ice and Angel Du$t frontman Justice Tripp makes “Never Die”, the perfect crossover.
I was particularly struck by singer Mikey Petroski’s comments on the difference in lyrics between “Just Another Day” and “Outcry” in an interview with No Echo.
“The first album was really personal and dark for me, a lot of pent-up feelings and emotions of things I’d been carrying every day for years… if my life were to end, would that be what represents me? Are my friends and family gonna listen to that and feel good about the words I’m saying?” Petroski said in the interview. “…I take that seriously and am eternally grateful to my band for giving me that opportunity and for anyone who listens. After this release, I can say I feel good about what I’ve left behind.”
It’s a powerful outlook that seems to fit right into the musical trajectory of Never Ending Game.
Incendiary — “Change the Way You Think About Pain” — Closed Casket — May 26
This highly anticipated follow-up to the excellent 2017 album “Thousand Mile Stare” sees Incendiary spitting their signature metalcore and political lyrics with just as much urgency. “Change the Way You Think About Pain” is Incendiary’s fourth LP and their experience is apparent in every aspect of this band.
The Long Island veterans still have much more to say and the two singles are packed with memorable lines, one of Incendiary’s many great abilities. In particular, “Every window deserves a brick” from “Echo of Nothing” is a standout. The music packs a similar punch, with lashing riffs grabbing the listener and commanding attention. This is sure to be a release that will excite longtime fans and bring lots of new listeners into the fold.
Foo Fighters — “But Here We Are” — Roswell/RCA — June 2
Alright, I will end this list with something not heavy. Foo Fighters recently dropped a surprise announcement that they will be releasing a new album, “But Here We Are.” Knowing the band’s work ethic and insatiable motivation, especially Dave Grohl’s, I thought it was likely that the band would continue after the death of drummer Taylor Hawkins. But I was not expecting new material a little over a year after Hawkins’ death. While there is no word on a permanent or temporary drum replacement, the band will be touring and has already written new music.
The single “Rescued” follows a similar sound from the most recent albums “Medicine at Midnight” and “Concrete and Gold.” The guitars are fuzzy, layered and the melodies are light. But Grohl’s vocals feel like they’re reverting back to the earlier material as if the emotional weight forced the band back to the beginning of their career when grief was first present in the wake of Kurt Cobain’s death and Hawkins’ overdose in 2001 that is now making its return since Hawkins death in March 2022. It will be interesting to see how many answers “But Here We Are” provides, or if it will leave listeners with even more questions about the inner workings of one of the biggest rock bands of all time.
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