The Los Angeles, California death metal underground has a small but sharp set of old school obsessed troupes acting on it’s behalf and one of the more raw upstarts Draghkar have been admirably positioning themselves for the last couple of years. As their abilities and style fume above their early Finnish death metal influences the trio’s songwriting takes steps toward their own still-ragged style. Defined by a taste for classic heavy metal rhythms and late 80’s demo grime Draghkar begin to live up to the promise of great taste on their latest EP ‘The Endless Howling Abyss’.
Sporting a righteously twisted new logo and a line-up with members from Grave Spirit and Ossuarium the slightly more professional rhythms heard on their split with Desekryptor earlier this year appear in full form across four tracks. I hear a crossover happening between the ancient Greek black metal infused riffs of Sacriphyx and the catchy garage-blasted death attack of another new-ass band Mutilate, who are similarly raw and ultimately all about the same Deathstrike-meets-Autopsy horror groove.
This isn’t death metal focused on precision or brutality so much as it relies on thrash metal’s basic rhythmic momentum to push forward. The clangor of the those riffs creates movement but no true crushing heaviness or ominous brutality and this helps Draghkar stand out with a mildly-janky, thrashing 80’s death metal demo sound. The riffs are there but many of them are delivered with a fast almost black/thrashing manner that would often subvert the expectations of their earliest Finnish death/doom sound. As their approach finds the right balance of technical ideas, punkish beast, and pure heavy metal influences it heavily recalls the raw, swinging bestial hatred of Chile and Argentina’s earliest extreme metal scenes atop their main influences.
Although I wasn’t floored by ‘The Endless Howling Abyss’ I admired the experience from the exceptional cover art to the rotten riffs and primitive death metal drumming. Much like Rotheads and Mutilate the strength and personality of Draghkar lies in their filthy sound and simpler compositions, so I figure it’ll be one more for the established fan rather than any greater induction into old school death. Though I think their sweet spot for compositions is still forming, the sound is all there and this is a band to watch for in the future.
|Released||July 27, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on Draghkar’s Bandcamp!||Follow Draghkar on Facebook|
Masters of dark dreams. 3.5/5.0
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