Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Cokegoat - Drugs and Animals

The world is a strange and arbitrary place, one in which the rules can suddenly shift on you, and common, everyday occurrences can leave you scrambling in confusion as you try and go about your day.  This past week in the US has certainly been... something, and I fear it will only get worse from here, and those arbitrary rules will continue to shift and swirl into something that will resemble our old way of life in some sort of close but not quite right Stark Trek-esque alternate reality.

Goatees for everyone!!!

It's times like this where people take solace in their passions, and in the things they count as constant, unflinching rules or guidelines in their lives.  For me, those passions are the Durfette, our puppy, close friends, and the exquisiteness of grilled meats.  For the rules or guidelines, there are a few, but for the purposes of this review, the important ones are these:  When an album promo from a band named Cokegoat shows up in your inbox, you chuckle and download it without a second thought.  And then when you finally give it a second thought, and see that the band describes the album as "a tall refreshing Long Island Ice Tea in a craft cocktail world.  It's trashy, it will get you fucked up, and you'll probably wake up in a strange place needing a double dose of antibiotics," you stop whatever you're doing and you listen to that motherfucker.

"Quiet Tyrant" opens the proceedings with an ethereal, surfer guitar intro that makes you positive you've wandered into the wrong album by mistake... until the band kicks a killer groove into high gear.  The groove is anchored by Tim Baldwin's incredible bass work, and is one of the most fun pieces of music I've heard all year.  Once the vocals kick in, Cokegoat does their sludgy thing, eventually settling "Quiet Tyrant" into a sweet spot somewhere between Mastodon's "Sleeping Giant" and Mouth of the Architect's "Rocking Chairs and Shotguns," which sure ain't a bad place to be.

"The Burner" lives up to its name in spades; the shortest track on the album opens with a bang, featuring galloping guitars over dancing drums and balletic bass over a frantic three minutes.  Drummer Jordan Schultz takes his turn in the spotlight here, absolutely driving "The Burner" at breakneck speed toward its conclusion.  I'll get to the guitars and vocals in time (because they are also pretty great), but the rhythm section of Cokegoat truly kills it; I could talk about what the bass and drums are doing in each song for this entire review, because they're absolutely incredible.

"Winter of Fear" comes at you like a dense film noir, with dizzy overlaid keyboards and guitars courtesy of Chase Bentley, Ed Nudd, Jeff Wojtysiak, and Rebekah Brown.  It's easy to get lost in the intro to this song, and I really wish it lasted for a longer than it does (it's a good length, I just could listen to a solid hour of swirling guitars and keyboards).  "Nurture" features some great isolated vocals with punches of guitar and drums; it reminds me of a less dense and foreboding Eagle Twin track.

"The Ruiner" is probably my favorite track on Drugs and Animals, as it opens with an absolute beast of a headbanging groove, morphes into a great sludge bit, and then opens into an ethereal, almost delicate bridge.  It's a testament to the talent of Cokegoat, and it shows that their music is limited in scope only by the songs they choose to write, because clearly the band is talented enough to make great music across genres.  "Where the Sun Dies" is further proof to this, as it finds the band exploring the epitome of what can only be called a sludge dirge, and "Kreator Destroyer" ends Drugs and Animals on a more progressive, yet still grounded, note.  Drugs and Animals is as varied a sludge album as any I've heard, easily identifiable as such, yet stretching and pushing the boundaries to bring a new element to the familiar.

Sludge metal is Spock and Drugs and Animals is the
goatee in this analogy

Look, we're all searching for answers right now.  None of us know what the future holds, and we're worried.  Cokegoat, meanwhile, is unfazed.  Drugs and Animals is the soundtrack to a barbecue that becomes a bender, of throwing up your hands and letting go of any semblance of control you thought you had and just enjoying the moment.  It's skipping your last college final to party on the beach, and then worrying about how you'll graduate in the morning.  Drugs and Animals is a fun fuckin' album, one that comes at a perfect time.  I've been spending the past week listening to a lot of Dragged Into Sunlight, Rage Against the Machine, and Clouds, basically trying to figure out what to do while keeping myself depressed and angry.  And while those feelings are good to have, it's also great to have a reminder of what's good in life, and that cracking a tallboy and rocking out is still a-ok.  Cokegoat is that reminder.  Drugs and Animals is a party everyone can get behind, because it's a be yourself, do what you do, absolute rager of an album.  Throw Drugs and Animals on, crank it up so the neighbors can hear, and when they knock on your door to complain, toss 'em a beer and invite them in to share in the experience.  That's how we move forward.

Drugs and Animals is out Nov. 25; check out "Nurture" below, and be sure to grab this when it comes out!

- Durf 

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