DATE BREAKDOWN: Load – “Drunken Warrior Chief”

File Under: Hardcore Punk, Garage, Noise

When LOAD showed up for the blind date, my ears weren’t ready. I’m not sure it’s possible to be ready for such a thing. Loud, aggressive, and all up in it is a bold way to start a courting. But that’s Load.

My ears immediately told my brain “This is awful. Why are we doing this?” Which is interesting, considering punk rock is my ears’ bread and butter. I listen to that shit day in and day out. Punk has been pumped into my veins for almost 15 years. I started this blog, afraid that those who knew me would see it as a way for me to push my punk agenda, when really it’s an attempt to expand my horizons. And here, week 2, a punk album just happens to be my date and it’s awful. Fuckity fuck fuck fuck. (Mixed emotions).

But enough of that. And sorry for all the fucks. Let’s get into why I disliked Load right off the bat: Terrible sound quality. I’ve heard this kind of thing before, many times, and I do enjoy some heavy shit. But mixing is super important, and as far as I could tell the room they recorded in (a garage?) was not only the recording space but also the producer and the mixer. For an album released in 2016, this month in fact, this production is very hard to swallow. And that’s where it gets interesting.

I did some research and these are actually recordings from the ’90s. A little more forgivable in that sense. Further research revealed that these tracks were pulled off of various EPs and 7″ records and compiled onto one album. Which is why when I listened with headphones later in the week, I constantly had to adjust the volume. The sequencing is pure shit and unless they lost the original masters and couldn’t remaster, I don’t see why they wouldn’t bring the tracks to similar volume levels. 

But enough shit talk, because I’m about to get to the part where I hate myself. After 3-4 days I really didn’t mind this. Maybe I have too high of a tolerance, but there is some good stuff on here. Honestly, it sounds like Guttermouth, The Germs and Paint It Black in a blender. A weird combination, but kind of cool at the same time. The vocalist is super solid and everything feels raw, bold, and dynamic. If they actually recorded this today with better standards they’d be getting success parallel to PEARS.

Lyrically I missed a lot. I’m a sucker for lyric sheets and none were included on the bandcamp page (or anywhere else online for that matter). Lyrics that I did catch were on the darker side, even disturbingly so as on “Pa’s Moonshine,” a stand-out track about domestic abuse that ends the album.

All in all, here ready to start another blind date, I can safely say I’ll listen to Drunken Warrior Chief again. Just not with headphones.

Highlights on the album are: “Drunken Warrior Chief” and “Lumberjack Death Luge”

Going on a blind date with Drunken Warrior Chief:

3.25/5 stars

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