Sunndrug, a band comprised of ex-members of Norma Jean and Spitfire, release their debut album, Exit Wounds. Spitfire and Norma Jean both fall under the blanket term of “metalcore”, but more colloquially speaking, they were scene bands. I recall when emo kids were being taken over by the scene kids, and Christian metal bands such as Underoath and Norma Jean were devoured by most, even if the scenesters were atheists themselves. So, going into this one would expect another metalcore/scene album based off of the joining forces.
First track, “White Ladders,” is a pretty interesting start. It has layers tweaked and looped fading in and out, cut up, in reverse, and a melodic vocal track on top. It was a convincing start that the album was going to be a new style for the members involved, and they did a good job on the collaboration. Then the next track, “Denial,” throws the listener right back into that scene vibe expected from the make-up, musically it sounds like an over-produced Death From Above 1979 cover, not terrible.
“Psy-Vamp” has an interesting idm-style layer in it, and a very aesthetically pleasing drum-track. It has a Kid-A era vibe to it, but with an emo singer. The follow up is “Shining” which is a slower less intricate track, it has a sun-drenched sound to it, a decent break for the half way point for the album.
The title track “Exit Wounds” is like the opening track, but sans-vocals. It has some interesting layering in it; a piano track that seems to be all ripped apart, a bass line that reverses in and out on a broken loop, and another piano track playing throughout that has a very mellow middle frequency based melody. Then “Halo” kills the mellow streak and throws some more scene stuff out there, but it has some Strokes-like moments embedded in it. The next few tracks follow that style of some scene-music with other random rock styles thrown in there.
The eleventh track titled “Echolalia” is another of the album’s mellow and layered short breaks, a nice touch and almost a godsend for the album. Then the final track, “Young Blood” has a goth/idm feel to it. It has whispery, dragging vocals, a basic club style beat, with guitars bending in tempo over all of it. Almost sounds like they were trying to have a trendy track on the album.
Exit Wounds overall is a surprising album. I went into it skeptically, expecting a scenie-weenie metal album, but it is not that at all. It definitely shows the members’ different influences throughout, but maintains an interesting experimental style across the board. I imagine a scene kid, a goth kid, and an idm kid, all under the same mall roof, trying to figure out if they like or not. Worth a listen, it has a little bit of something for anyone.