Drums Of Death – Generation Hexed review

After being a staple on both the Greco-Roman imprint as well as at clubs and festivals for almost two years now, Colin Bailey’s ghoulish, face-painted alter ego Drums of Death finally drops the debut album we’ve been waiting for. As a solo performer, he’s entrancing – both because of his stage make-up, but also because of his one-man ravecore beats that are sung over, and sometimes completely shouted over. Appropriately, “Karaoke” is the first tune on the album, and it ushers in the wave of pop-leaning electro madness with some looped and very wonky vocal drones. “Science and Reason” quickly follows and it’s a chaotic mix of different drum kits, glossy synths and DOD’s multi-tracked and dryly recorded vocals – similar at times to ex-Beta Band singer Steve Mason.

“Won’t Be Long” flips the chipmunk effect midway through on Bailey’s voice, making it rise into a huge looped crescendo that’s clearly something he’s honed through his live shows. “Lonely Days” follows the same trick, building a huge rise midway through while riding some seriously fat D&B-style bass. With the vocals sounding so pleasantly unprocessed and raw for the most part, the album as a whole could almost serve as a document of the riotous live shows DOD has unleashed in the past – such is the intensity of his style. “Creak” however pans out as purely an instrumental though, with a slow horrorcore feeling to the epic synths that’ll have you checking under the bed for lurking ghouls or ghosts. “All These Plans” is a real highlight – a proper indie-club crossover that’s bound to get a lot of play, while you’ll wish all R&B songs had the same thump ‘n’ grind of “Everything All At Once” – featuring some textbook use of off-the-hook arpeggios. The punky, rough-edged quality of Bailey’s vocals work a treat on “Modern Age” – sounding like Mark E. Smith on the verses and James Murphy on the choruses, over a pounding pop-rave backing. Such is the appeal of “Generation Hexed” – an album that seems imbued with that punk spirit of throwing everything at the wall and giving listeners an energy-packed, 1000 miles per hour ride along.

Oliver Keens