For ten years now The Drip have been building a sweet promise of Nasum style grindcore, but with their own imprint. On their long awaited full length The Haunting Fear of Inevitability the band somewhat delivers on this promise. Grind is represented but its the heavy use of d-beat and death metal flourishes that come as a surprise. And we haven’t mentioned the *gasp* groovy breakdowns. Shocked? Same, but when it works it works well and any fan of the band will thoroughly enjoy it.
The earlier mention of Nasum level grind came from The Drip’s last EP, A Presentation of Gruesome Poetics, where the band actually sounded like the second coming. And even though the production sounded like it was recorded underwater it really didn’t matter, that EP smoked. It was relentless, vicious and blazed a trail through the sky at warp speed. The two EP’s that preceded A Presentation.. were warm ups, good mind you, but still not quite there yet. I’d wager the excitement for this full length stemmed from that last EP and mostly because the listeners would finally get to hear it in full length form.
The first few run throughs of The Haunting Fear of Inevitability are satisfying and mostly due to the fact that death metal swagger and neck snapping hardcore both play a big part in the overall finished product. But deeper digging makes this the biggest issue with the album as a whole, don’t get me wrong tracks like “Terror War Industry” and “The Answer,” just to name a couple, are exactly what grind connoisseurs will come to this album for and exactly what listeners were expecting for this release. But the slower death metal pacing on “Dead Inside,” as well as several other tracks, is a bit overcooked and moments like this, even though well played, take away from the band’s trademark intensity and particularly so on successive spins. Same for the slower breakdowns in follow up track “Covered In Red”, while executed to the nth degree it just doesn’t play well with what this band has built thus far. Look, playing at warp speed is tough and short breaks must be had but the band’s output to date has been nothing short of an onslaught of speed and the lack of complete obliteration here is a little disappointing.
On a high note, both the Joel Grind production and Brad Boatright mastering are absolutely on point. This album is crystal clear and every frenzied drum section telepathically locked with the bass, every frenetic riff and the ridiculously good vocal performance can be heard loud and clear. The way this album sounds at loud volume is what makes it crazy fun throughout initial inspection. And then there’s that ridiculously good guitar solo at the end of album closer “Bone Chapel” that is almost worth the price of admission alone.
On The Haunting Fear of Inevitability, The Drip’s formula of grind, slow, breakdown, grind wasn’t quite what was expected based on their previous work. And unfortunately makes this just a good album but not an earth shattering realization of everything the band has worked for.