Given that Danish bruisers Cabal have roped in the skills of Trivium frontman Matt Heafy for one of the tracks on their new album, Drag Me Down, it comes as a pleasant surprise to find that the album, in summary, is pure, unmitigated filth. Trust me, Danish they may be, but Volbeat rockabilly this is not!
The album kickstarts with the feral “Gift Givers” and doesn’t let up from that point. Aside from Matt Heafy, Drag Me Down features a number of guest vocalists including Polaris frontman Jamie Hails, who adds his tones to the title-track while Kim Song Sternkopf of fellow Danes MØL, is another weighty name to add to the credit list.
Clearly Cabal is planning on grabbing your attention with this, their second album and, listening to frontman Andreas Bjulver Paarup unleashing all manner of hell on the sledgehammer heavy “Tongues,” they certainly do that. “The Hangman’s Song” finds the Danes reining in the tempo as they take their sound down a sludgier, chuggier route. However, that doesn’t stop Paarup unleashing yet more throat-torturing vocals. Listening to the man scream his way through tracks like “Tongues” and the unrelenting stomp that is “Death March,” it’s fair to say that there are very few extreme metal vocalists out there that can match him on this evidence.
Even by the time the album has battered its way through to “Bitter Friends,” the “Matt Heafy” track, Cabal show no signs of taking a break. Another top slice of head-pummelling extremity, the addition of the experienced Heafy, who weighs in with some suitably ferocious vocals himself, will surely give this album some credibility within the more mainstream metal scene. That is until they hear the track where Cabal and Heafy combine to create a masterpiece of jaw-breaking savagery.
In fact, savage is probably the best way to describe this album. From the artwork to the musicianship to the choice of guest vocals, Drag Me Down is an unpleasant, savage listen. It’s also an essential one if your musical leanings fall towards those kinds of albums that are the musical equivalent of a baseball bat to the guts.
Drag Me Down Track Listing:
1. Gift Givers
2. Drag Me Down (Jamie Hails of Polaris)
3. It Haunts Me (Kim Song Sternkopf)
6. The Hangman’s Song
7. Death March
8. Bitter Friend (Matt Heafy of Trivium)
Run Time: 34:37
Release Date: April 3, 2020
Record Label: Long Branch Records