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Review

Draghkar – Eternal Abyss Review

Band: Draghkar
Album: Eternal Abyss
Label: Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
Genre: Death Metal
Country: USA
Release Date: March 22nd, 2019

Draghkar is a three-piece group from Los Angeles, California, made up of BW on guitar and vocals, DK on bass, and ES on drums; together they play a raw and rough brand of Old School Death Metal. Eternal Abyss is the compilation of the previous releases World Unraveled, The Endless Howling Abyss, and a track from a split with Desekryptor, and Horror Pain Gore Death is handling the CD release. Armed with a more legible logo, a properly eerie creature drawn on the cover and some excellent live tracks to close out the release, Endless Abyss is hopefully the launch pad for the next, bigger phase.

ES is the name behind the skins and cymbals, the crashing and pounding, and they do a damn good job. For the majority of the songs, the drums serve as the backbone, holding everything together and keeping the audience head-banging. The drum work is impressive though not showy across the runtime, instead, keeping an excellent control on the speed and direction of the music. DK is the bassist, who is more present in the mix and part of the music than other bands out there today. The bass is down-right crucial to more than a few songs on this release; the pointed hit of a bass note stands out numerous times, while the rest of the bass lines blend well with the total picture. BW handles the guitars and vocal duties for Draghkar, with the riffs of the quick and nimble variety, ready to slice instead of bludgeon, and the vocals sounding like an otherworldly howling growl. The guitars have some Black Metal influence in them, as well as the Swedish Death style of riffing, making them lighter though no less filthy.

The first three songs comprise the earliest recorded work from this group, and show the beginnings of their sound; firmly cemented from the very start in a dirty take on Old School Death Metal and only improved upon with future releases. Wings Over Malkier stood out as the most memorable, and often repeated out of the first section, though both songs that followed were also great. Stealing the Keys to Nothingness comes from the split with Desekryptor, and is an adrenaline rush of absolute fury that rages right until the end. The next four songs come from The Endless Howling Abyss EP which was a highly anticipated release of mine last year. Traversing the Abyss manages to be the stand-out here, again, among a field of great songs; this was the song that had me constantly checking the name whenever I’d catch a section while it played in the background as it never failed to impress.

Five live tracks close out this release with a bang. Including these tracks pushes the time beyond just the standard LP minimum and show that the band’s raw sound and powerful driving dynamic translates effortlessly to a live venue. These are live tracks, and the mix isn’t great at times, but more than acceptable and very enjoyable nevertheless. Live tracks tend to only work if you like the band already, which is pretty convenient for Draghkar, considering they spend the first eight songs easily convincing the listener of their worthiness. The final songs end up being the cherry on top of this release, adding something beyond just a compilation, and giving far away fans the live experience.

A compilation release is almost always a good thing, it will either serve as an entry point for a band, or it will collect many different songs that were released across EPs or splits, Endless Abyss is the latter for me, but will serve as the former for many. Draghkar has had a short life, but every song they have put out is tremendous, and they deserve all the fame and attention. The raw nature of the music isn’t cleaned up for this album, and that is for the better. Part of what makes this band stand out from the crowded field of Old School Death Metal is the feeling of being in the room while they were recording, and still hearing the gritty nature. Endless Abyss is a great portrait of this band’s first steps; it shows growth of confidence in a great sound that only gets better.

Rating: 9/10

Tracklist:

  1. Wings Over Malkier
  2. Cowering in the Town of Blinded Eyes
  3. World Unraveled
  4. Stealing the Keys to Nothingness
  5. Traversing the Abyss
  6. Swallowed by the Dark
  7. Eternal Disintegration (Of the Body and of the Mind)
  8. Fading into Emptiness
  9. Traversing the Abyss (live)
  10. Swallowed by the Dark (live)
  11. Cowering in the Town of Blinded Eyes (live)
  12. Eternal Disintegration (Of the Body and of the Mind) (live)
  13. Fading into Emptiness (live)

Total Playing Time: 52:14

Click here to visit Draghkar’s Bandcamp

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