Cabal - Drag Me Down | Album Review

Hailing from the streets of Copenhagen, Cabal represent the dark and filthy heart of a city stereotypically perceived as scenic and pleasant. With only a singular release to their namesake thus far, the group have already made a sizeable crater within the European deathcore scene, decimating highly publicised events such as Copenhell, Roskilde, Euroblast and Complexity Fest - just to name a few. With their talons now gripped deep within the scene, it’s no surprise they’re one of the hottest tipped Danish bands at the current time. Whilst they still have some more work to accomplish prior to becoming a more renowned band on our increasingly isolated island, it’s legwork they’re going to accomplish with they're set to complete with their sophomore release Drag Me Down.

Utterly void of colour and joy, whilst Cabal clearly belong to an increasingly overpopulated scene, they resonate something a lot of core orientated bands don’t; authenticity. As the listener is greeted with the hellish and uncompromising bellows of opener ‘Gift Giver’ it’s clear this isn’t an album that deals in half measures. Vocalist and frontman Andreas Bjulver Paarup roars like he’s been possessed by a bestial entity residing within the deepest pits of the void below and as the record continues into the title track and ‘It Haunts Me’ - tracks that feature vocal work from Polaris’ Jamie Halls and MØL’s Kim Song Sternkopf respectively – Cabal’s infatuation with doom laden atmospherics become clear and forefront.

Whereas their 2018 long play debut Mark Of Rot displayed a viable focus on all things sonically dismal, Drag Me Down see’s Cabal captivating a newfound sense of ambition in order to emphasis the oppressive dread within this record. ‘Tongues’ see’s the band bask in the deathcore atmospherics that are akin to modern day Thy Art Is Murder and the bracketed ‘Sjælebrand’ witnesses the band dramatically slowing the tempo in order create a more echoing and ornate sound that’s of extreme metal sacrilege. In relation, there’s moments within this album that see the band dip their toes into the blood streaked waters of slam and hardcore.

Make no mistake though, the majority of the this record is thoroughbred deathcore. Much like the aforementioned Mark Of Rot, relentless fury, metallic intensity and charging speed are the hallmarks of this record. Whilst the augmentation of the band’s sound does add additional variation, a sense of stagnation does begin to creep in as the record chugs into it’s third and final act. The bladed angular riffs of ‘Unbound’ and a guest appearance of Trivium’s own Matt Heafy on ‘Bitter Friend’ does keep the record buoyant at this stage, - even if the later track does see some questionable clumsily keys forced into the mix – but it’s clear Cabal still have some organic experimentation to conduct in order to fully distance themselves from the deathcore hordes.

Make no mistake though, if you like your deathcore utterly void of jubilance and with a degree of profane sacrilege evident, Drag Me Down will be an utter joy to ingest. Hell, even if you just hold a passing interest in extreme metal this is a record we recommended. Whilst Cabal still need to double down on their own unique sound in order to claim their stake as European leaders of the scene, Drag Me Down showcases how the band do indeed have the skill required.

Score: 7/10

Drag Me Down is released April 3rd via Long Branch Records. Pre-order the record here.