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Drain - Living Proof (Album Review)

Wednesday, 10 May 2023 Written by Will Marshall

California hardcore is having a moment, with cities across the state bursting at the seams with exciting bands. Very few scenes have caught on like the interconnected ones in San Jose and Santa Cruz, though, with genre-shaking albums emerging from the morass like it’s nothing. Few groups embody that spirit quite like Drain.

Having released their debut album ‘California Cursed’ during the pandemic the band—fronted by former Gulch drummer Sammy Ciaramitaro—swiftly went from playing to 50 people to 500 once live music returned, and they rode that wave all the way to a deal with the legendary punk label Epitaph.

‘Living Proof’ is their second LP and it neatly exemplifies its title. The core message is simple: we did this off our own backs, and if you put your mind to it, so can you. 

Run Your Luck barrels into the world with Ciaramitaro’s immediately recognisable bark and a thrash-inspired riff, while FTS (KYS) is a charging two-stepper that’s as empowering as it is furious.

You’d be hard pressed to find a song here that isn’t designed to incite as much chaos as possible, with Watch You Burn and the title track offering chugging, rampaging grooves with plenty of bite. 

The band do find time to throw a couple of curveballs, though. Intermission introduces rapper Shakewell and a supine beat, but it still keeps that punchy beatdown energy. Elsewhere, Ciaramitaro flexes his vocal chops during a cover of Descendents’ Good Good Things, which is sandwiched between two of the record’s heaviest hitters.

At its heart, ‘Living Proof’ is a celebration of all the band have achieved and a screamed reassurance to anyone who wants to do something in their life that they can do it too. It does so in the only way Drain know how: through bruising hardcore with a big attitude and even bigger mosh calls.

Drain Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon August 07 2023 - LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
Tue August 08 2023 - BRISTOL Exchange
Wed August 09 2023 - LONDON New Cross Inn

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