No noose is good noose…
Review by Ian Savage
Release date: 13 July 2015
It takes a certain amount of artistic chutzpah to pull off a mainstream concept album these days. Sure, there’s a few prog outfits still mining the ‘dragons and sorcery’ vein, and seemingly every other extreme metal release is “like, all based on a theme that we’ve wanted to write about for years, y’know?”…but a 23-minute opus based around the First World War?
That’s exactly the task Essex quintet The Dropper’s Neck have set themselves. Nineteen | Sixteen (that’s ‘Nineteen – vertical line – Sixteen’, by the way) crams seven three-minute-ish riff-laden punk-metal tunes into its scant runtime, all shot through with imagery of the hellishness of trench warfare.
The music itself is pretty well-done, some heavy-as-balls if slightly uninspired guitar parts melded onto a solid rock rhythm section with more than passable production; unfortunately it’s that lyrical imagery that massively lets the side down. Largely scanning like the English Lit homework of a teenager studying War Poetry Unit One, Seigfried Sassoon et al would be spinning in their collective graves at cringeworthy couplets like ‘climbing over the rows of wire, running straight into enemy fire’ and ‘what you mean you’re not going back, we’ve all worked so hard for a stab in the back’, delivered with the arrhythmic clunkiness of a broken-down Renault FT – and the see-it-coming-a-mile-off Last Post bugle finale puts the cliché cherry on a fairly stale cake.
Full marks for the attempt to do something a little different, but given the pitfalls inherent in trying to artistically evoke the second-bloodiest conflict in modern history, The Dropper’s Neck should possibly have set themselves a more forgiving target. The band have been pretty well-lauded in the rock press, so one has to hope that their live shows are somewhat less grating than this EP; here, no noose is good noose.
4 out of 10
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