On their debut album Brace for Impact, the Seattle band Colony Drop have found a particular kind of sweet spot, which accounts for the glowing reactions that have already started pouring out from both so-called “music critics” like us and listeners looking for a hell of a good time. They’ve whipped up a stylistic amalgam that’s wild in its diversity but doesn’t sound either artificially bolted together or chaotic, and they’ve chosen lyrical themes that could be summed up as… the revenge of the nerds.
That last point isn’t intended as a criticism, by the way, because even though most of the above-ground world thinks of metal as a hellish house of malignant horrors, you’d be hard-pressed to find a nerdier group of fans of any kind of music (including, to be clear, the perpetrators of this site).
As one example of the sweet spot Colony Drop have made for themselves, today we’re premiering the album’s fifth track out of 11, a song called “The Clockwork Grip” that’ll knock your teeth out and light a fire under your imagination. We’ll provide our own introduction to it, but let’s start with comments by CDrop lyricist/vocalist Joseph Schafer (an old friend of this site and the long-timers who toil here):
“The first words in ‘The Clockwork Grip’ are, ‘A castle full of traps,’ and they reflect what writing the song itself was like. This is one of our first songs, and maybe it’s changed the most from the initial demo to the final version – Ryan’s first demo of it is ten years old! In keeping it fresh, we just had to keep adding more twists and turns!
“Performing the song itself is like dodging booby traps, with its sudden tempo shifts and multiple vocal styles. For that reason, it’s also our love letter to ‘Metroidvania’ type video games, and of course, the shredding soundtracks to the Castlevania game series have some impact on COLONY DROP’s sound. We love a good dungeon crawl, especially one with a trapdoor leading to a big ol’ boss fight at the end—hence the big breakdown during the climax!”
In addition to the nerd elements in what you just read, you might also want to know that Schafer‘s lyrics across the album were also inspired by the weird fiction of authors including China Mieville, as well as classic anime like Mobile Suit: Gundam, from which the band derives its name. But as anyone who’s read China Mieville could guess, the technocratic future portrayed by these songs isn’t a hopeful one, or at least won’t be one worth hoping for unless people get off their asses and fight for it.
But let’s get back to “The Clockwork Grip“, which all by itself embodies the core of what makes Colony Drop‘s stylistic whirligig so appealing — the kind of songwriting that sets a ton of hooks and then reels you in without mercy for the gutting to come.
There are faster songs than this one on Brace for Impact, but none more groovesome. There’s a palpable air of hulking menace in the song’s jolting yet quickly addictive opening riff, and a visceral appeal to the lead-weighted bass lines and bare-knuckled drum punishment. The song also begins to rumble and rush like a big attacking tank as Schafer‘s gritty yells add hooks of their own, but it also spins up into episodes of glorious thrashing delirium and blazing heavy metal grandeur.
There’ no let-up in the skull-smacking, bone-busting grooves or the fanatical madness of the vocals, but the band do make room for a supernatural and sorcerous solo that becomes blistering. And although Schafer‘s quote might have spoiled the surprise, the song further includes a vicious shadow-spawned breakdown in which the vocals drop into harrowing roars and strangled snarls, but with time enough for another solo — this one woozy and psychedelic.
COLONY DROP is:
Ari Rosenschein – Bass, Backing Vocals
Benjamin Burton – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Eric Harris – Drums
Joseph Schafer – Lead Vocals, FX
Ryan Moon – Lead Guitar, Keyboard
Brace For Impact was recorded and engineered by Nicholas Wilbur at The Unknown Studios and by Ryan Moon at Buster Room Recordings, and it was mixed and mastered by Alex Farrar at Drop Of Sun Studios. It features logo art by Emily McCafferty and eye-grabbing cover art and layout by Matt Stikker.
Brace For Impact will be released August 25th on LP, CD, CS, and digital platforms. You’ll find pre-orders at the Nameless Grave Records webshop and at Bandcamp, where you can stream two more songs from the album — “Colony Drop (Brace For Impact)” and “Stand Against the World”. It comes recommended for fans of Iron Age, Power Trip, Black Breath, and High Command.