REVIEW: Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows

Artist: Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows
Album: D.R.U.G.S.
Genre: Post-hardcore
Label: Sire/Decaydance

If you havent heard of Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows (D.R.U.G.S.) before clicking on this review, you’re either lost or only recently discovered social networking. The group, comprised of Craig Owens, Matt Good, Nick Martin, Aaron Stern, and Adam Russell, have been making waves in the post hardcore scene since forming in early 2010. Now, following months of genius viral marketing and a tour that almost sold out before the group had released a single song, D.R.U.G.S. are finally preparing to release their self-titled debut on February 22. Has the wait been worth it? Well, as you’ll soon find out, maybe.

I’ll admit to being quite the fanboy of Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows prior to receiving their debut album. Having been a diehard fan of almost every act the members have been in previously (From First To Last, Chiodos, UNDERMINDED, Matchbook Romance), it was hard to control my excitement upon learning of their initial plans to work together. This excitement then began to grow as myself and UTG photographer Melanie Hodgins were fortunate enough to be invited to cover the group’s first ever performance in Pontiac, MI and still grew further upon hearing their first studio track, “If You Think This Song Is About You (It Probably Is).” However, shortly after all this, the actual album arrived and I quickly found myself wondering just how much I honestly loved D.R.U.G.S.

Kicking things off with “If You Think This Song Is About You (It Probably Is),” D.R.U.G.S. play it safe on the first half of their debut record. “If You Think” rolls nicely into a reworked “Thermacare” that helps to move along the record at a brisk pace, but eventually will likely leave many fans scrambling to find an MP3 of the original Chiodos demo for the song. This shouldn’t be held entirely against D.R.U.G.S. however, the changes actually result from a settlement between Owens and the other members of his former group over creative rights to the song. If you’d like to hear what happened to everything missing from this version of the song, check out “Stratovolcano Mouth” on Chiodos’ Illuminaudio.

As the album moves along, we come to what sounds like a more realized b-side from Bone Palace Ballet entitled, “Graveyard Dancing.” It’s a solid track if you’re into hearing Owens’ belt over a mashup of post-hardcore and the score to Tim Burton’s latest film, but fails to stay with listeners quite like the first tracks (or the two that follow). This then leads us to another one-two punch of material we’ve all heard before with the complex, yet insanely catchy “Mr. Owl Ate My Metal Warm” and the stab-me-in-the-ears-this-is-so-awful radio ready track, “Sex Life.” There really isn’t much to say about either song that hasn’t been put to print already, but I cannot express enough the amount of disgust I have with “Sex Life.” I’m all about a great chorus, but not when it’s so sloppily (and mind-numbingly) done. It’s the perfect example of a great idea with terrible execution (that will still sell records regardless of what I or anyone else says).

The back half of Destroy Rebuild Until God Returns’ debut album is where things really start to get interesting. While it’s nice to spend the first twenty minutes of the record being reminded of why we bought the record in the first place (as well as “Graveyard Dancing”), the album’s final six tracks are the true “meat” of the album. First up, “Laminated E.T. Animal,” brings us what may be the best song on the entire record. Finding the perfect balance between their heavy and soft sides, “Animal” manages to somehow feel controlled, yet entirely epic throughout. This wave of intensity is then continued on the assured pit inducing “Stop Reading, Start Doing Pushups,” which probably sounds like how many imagined the entire would. It’s heavy, lyrically in your face, and full of chugging guitars, pounding drums, and screams that nearly break glass.

As we reach the album’s final stretch, no one sound can truly define the band we’ve come to know as D.R.U.G.S. “I’m The Rehab, You’re The Drugs,” which we have already awarded worst song title of 2011 given the band’s name, is packed with a strong lyrical presence from Owens, but feels a bit flat musically. Likewise, “I’m Here To Take The Sky” packs some of the group’s most inspirational lyrics to date (such as “if the sky is the limit, then I’ll build a bridge up to it”), but feels more like a b-side from the abandoned Cinematic Sunrise full length than a D.R.U.G.S. original. Even with its wide variety of sound, there just doesn’t seem to be an appropriate place for this track on the record and it makes for a very awkward musical transition that never sets well with the listener. Luckily, most will probably be able to shake off the misstep shortly after beginning “The Hangman,” which comes packed with the perfect amount of energy and control before giving way to the album’s closer, “My Swagger Has A First Name.” As far as closers go, this is definitely one for the books as it packs all the energy, heart, control, and catchiness of the entire record into one song and then injects it with musical steroids to create a monstrosity few will be able to deny.

When it’s all said and done, the debut album from Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows stands as proof that even the most accomplished artists still need work. While the album has a lot to offer in the form of hooks, chugs, and production (Feldman is a genius as always), there is a lack of direction and consistency that will undoubtedly eat away at most fans. I’m sure this won’t make a difference to the album’s initial sales or the tours that will follow as D.R.U.G.S. already proven their ability to sell tickets without product, but those who can see past the hype will likely see just how “good, but not great” this album turned out to be.

Score: 7.5/10
Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • guest

    Are you 16? You’re writing reminds me of a 16 year old. I’m not trolling, I just really think you should work on your tone and vocabulary choices. Great ideas on the record, terrible execution.

  • Anberlinfan

    You’re criticizing his review for vocabulary choices and you can’t even use the term “your” correctly? Oh the irony. Work on your own vocabulary before you call out others.

  • Codyjay

    can you just leak the cd for me?

  • melindapriscilla

    Stop hating guest person. You are just peeved you could not write a review on D.R.U.G.S.

  • Nigs

    He used it right, actually. “You’re” is you are…