Review: Drain’s ‘Living Proof’ Is Essential Listening For All Heavy Music Lovers

Ever since breaking out in the scene with their debut LP ‘California Cursed’ (2020), the Santa Cruz hardcore outfit Drain has slowly but surely taken strides to the frontlines of heavy music’s most exciting modern bands. Now having signed with Epitaph Records the band has released their sophomore full length, Living Proof, and it’s safe to say this record further encapsulates why Drain should be on every heavy music lover’s daily rotation.

Right out of the gate, Living Proof solidifies itself as record that’s oozing with charisma, ferocious and intricate grooves, and riffs that’ll turn the heads of both metal and hardcore fans alike. Much of this is owed to the chemistry Drain share as musicians — Drain showcase a bond the likes of which most heavy bands take years to reach if at all, and it’s a very transparent aspect of Living Proof and this band. There’s a tangible sense of ‘fun’ on full display whenever Drain is playing, and despite there being some absurdly heavy moments on this album, the ‘fun’ charisma of Drain meshes so well with the heavy aspects due to the overtly positive themes talked about on Living Proof.

“Find the strength and kill yourself. Rеinvent the new you. Find thе strength and kill all the parts that you don’t love.” Albeit a grotesque metaphor upon first glance, Drain vocalist Sammy Ciaramitaro has penned some powerful lyrics about reinventing the the best possible version of one’s self. Lyrics such as this are often amalgamated with the band’s climactic breakdowns bringing out a real sense of drive and purpose to the listener and ultimately devastatingly powerful breakdowns. This element of the album adds a great deal to its general accessibility, particularly for those new to heavy music or those who have a burning interest to see what the hardcore scene is all about.

It’s interesting because there’s a lot of bands that attempt to make uplifting hardcore and metal music but they often lack the same tenacity a band like Drain has. It’s easy to get behind Drain and their messaging on this album especially because they give off such an overtly positive vibe through their performances, chemistry, and even with their comical artwork and branding.

As far as performance and production go there’s nothing lacking from Drain’s instrumentalists. Every pummeling guitar riff cuts through the mix with the utmost clarity, even whilst drummer Tim Flegal is showcasing some the most intricate and satisfying fills in modern hardcore. However, easily one of the most enjoyable aspects to Living Proof is the riff machine Cody Chavez, who dares not sit on the same face melt riffing for long before thrashing you to the next. There’s certainly some satisfying Pantera and Slayer worship going on behind the scenes in Living Proof, but it’s a large part of what makes this record and band so accessible to a spectrum of heavy music lovers.

Clocking in at only 25 mins, you can do no wrong by giving Drain’s latest release a spin. There’s a near endless number of aspects to love about Living Proof regardless of which corner of heavy music you’re coming from. And that’s ultimately the best part about Drain, they’re everything you’d want from a modern heavy band.

Essential Tracks: “Run Your Luck,” “FTS (KYS),” “Intermission,” “Weight of the World” (listen to the whole record)

Verdict: 9/10

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