Album Review: Cabal – Drag Me Down

Cabal - Drag Me Down review

The voyage towards the nucleus of blackness is something the metal scene has sought for since the very beginning. The necessity to be heavier gave rise to a need to be caliginous and more tormenting, both in terms of lyrical capacity and musical attack, and as technology has provided a deeper access to the abomiable sounds in the sky, music can become a disturbing time for those that come across the right acts. Denmark’s Cabal are one such group, a demon lurking in the cavernous abysses of the underground that has been lying asleep for the past two years until now.

Erupting onto the scene back in 2016 as a newfound force of a new direction for the overcrowded deathcore scene, Cabal fractured bones with their down tempo, down tuned and down right ugly attitude to music on the debut EP Purge, something that progressed until eventually getting the acclaim it deserved on the full-length debut Mark of RotCabal grasped the exigency for evolution, and there were pieces on the debut that called on redefining. Drag Me Down is a virtuous and superb follow-up in almost every way imaginable.

“Gift Givers” kicks things off with an amply beefy start, mirroring the band’s lack of corrosion and instantaneous buildout. This is a group that have drastically purified their perspective. The riffs are crystal clear and hit harder than they ever have all whilst Andreas Bjulver  yells his diabolic roar, now with more reach than ever as he levitates between guttural lows and shrieking highs.

Drag Me Down exudes fear, a persisting sense of coming eye to eye with a devil. Being engulfed with the utterly tyrannical character of the album is one of its sublime traits; this is an album that will surround you for its entire run time, dragging everyone down (pun intended), as Bjulver screams on the title track—which features Polaris singer Jamie Hails—before overpowering the listener with thunderous savagery thanks to a skull-shattering breakdown.

There is a dramatic flair threaded through Drag Me Down that in a way makes the album feel as a sonic maze, what only confirms that Cabal have added experimentation in their musical signature. This isn’t to say that the Danes are a different band, quite opposite. This is a band that have permitted their diversifying influences to go deeper into their vertebrae, no longer held down by any limitations. Cabal have succeeded in this already, and so authorizing the pulverizing pace and the petrifying atmospheres on tracks like “The Hangman’s Song” and “Bitter Friend”—the latter featuring guess appearance from Trivium’s Matt Heafy—have added unrevealed profundity to the band’s craftsmanship.

The two years it has taken Cabal to create Drag Me Down are shown through the album’s maturity, originality and smothering ambiance. The Danes have put out an album comprised of some of the harshest bottoms traversed in music in 2020. Drag Me Down is a menacing and uneasiness-inflicting album that will be hard to beat this year.

Drag Me Out is out on April 3rd via Long Branch Records; pre-order the album here. Follow Cabal on Facebook and Instagram.

Cabal - Drag Me Down review

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