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A lesson in lunacy - 80%

Zerberus, May 1st, 2014

Drug Honkey evolved from the 1997-project "Chronic Illogic" with Paul Gillis and Adam Smith at the helm, handling vocals and drums respectively. The band was designed to merge together several musical currents, most of which would be considered metal. Ever since the first album, the self-titled 2002 release, electronics in the form of excessive sampling and abrassive synths as well as an industrial, sludgy death metal sound have been the heart and soul of Drug Honkey. Through lineup changes and live performances the band from Chicago has endured to see the release of their fourth album in 2012, and have a new EP coming out in 2014.

When it comes to heaviness, bands like Triptykon, Conan, Hooded Menace, Sunn o))) or Coffins often come up as prime examples. But those that have witnessed the gospel of Ghost in the Fire know that Drug Honkey are giving all these acts a serious run for their money. The loathesome American quartet grudgingly strikes up an atmosphere of a psychedelic inclination, carved from a body of fuzz and reverb. More than once the speakers threatened to give in under the stress and booming rumble of the downtuned strings, the paranoia-inducing ambience adding reality-shattering depth to the otherwise lonesome drones of the bass and guitars.

Describing Drug Honkey's sound means reaching deep into a vocabulary that seems almost dried out of adequate adjectives. The cavernesque vocals sound at times like Asphyx's Martin Van Drunen being firmly pressed through a rusty grate. The drums eeriely accompany every track like the ever-present stalker haunting his victim. The album comes to a steadily paced halt on the second-to-last track "Twitcher", which is also where it is at its most far out stage. The stygian darkness of this psychedelic track builds up to the grand finale: Saturate/Annihilate, the culmination of everything shown thus far by Drug Honkey. The contrast between the two is where the mix becomes most volatile and seductively dangerous, being both the highest and lowest point of Ghost in the Fire. Every "song" is in itself a parody of life and a mockery of sentience, yet I couldn't imagine listening to Ghost in the Fire for the sake of a single track. The album works best as a whole, each track providing its own element to the final result. A fine specimen indeed.

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