Tuesday 6 December 2016

Drone Hunter - Welcome To The Hole (Album Review)

Release date: November 15th 2016. Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD

Welcome To The Hole – Tracklisting

1.Smoke & Mirrors 04:43
2.Devil's Switch 04:02
3.Crazy Ants With Shotguns 03:42
4.Wine Dick 04:51
5.K.J.O.M.P.M. 03:43
6.Fog Horn 04:58
7.Waltz Of The Iron Countess 05:20
8.A Burning Sensation 03:49

Band Members

Rus - drums
Klen - bass
Fitz - guitar


Today I’m gonna talk about the new album by the instrumental sludge/stoner band from Varaždin (Croatia), Drone Hunter. I follow these guys since their first appearance with their self-titled album Drone Hunter (2013), a 42 minutes of heavy tuned riff. Drone Hunter make a style of simplicity, having created their own sound by using only amps and instruments with no unnecessary frills. Nothing to complain. This is the right formula for a raw and dirty sound that goes straight to the chest.

After three years spent performing a hundred shows and two European tours in Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, they are back with a new album (Welcome To The Hole) that, objectively, displaces compared to their debut. While Drone Hunter (the album) is characterized by a pure sludge/metal oriented sound, in Welcome To The Hole the production tends to favour the songwriting and not only the sounds. The global listening greatly benefited and, although the album may appear less ‘swampy’, sound and attitude still remain devastating.

Mind you. In my opinion this does not mean that one album prevails over the other but, simply, that this power trio made a significant step forward towards a greater awareness of their possibilities. Personally, I appreciate when a band manages to innovate just enough to get out toward a professional maturity, that is what I perceive before anything else in Welcome To The Hole. In less than 40 minutes, Drone Hunter (the band) are able to fuse different genres and styles in a unique, where emerge a certain mastery in moving between bluesy riffs and metal outbursts. Over the years and with only two albums, Drone Hunter have created their unique style around which they have evolved, without getting bogged down in the (unhealthy) idea to remain anchored to a genre dictate.

Regardless of the genre, doing instrumental music is always difficult, since the risk of being little different and be boring is always around the corner. With Welcome To The Hole, Drone Hunter have succeeded in the difficult task of creating a really interesting album where ‘dead moments’ are really rare. It ranges from sweet acoustic intros that open to outbursts stoner/blues riffage (the opener Smoke & Mirrors) to moments of pure metal (K.J.O.M.P.M.), going through songs that closely remind a perfect bluesy soundtrack (Crazy Ants With Shotgun).

When, years ago, I started following this trio, I did it because intrigued by the name, thinking they were something similar to Sunn O))). Luckily, they were not. Over the years, Drone Hunter have shown how to handle genres and styles with care, giving us a superb record. I also recommend to find their first self-titled album, to test with your ears the true meaning of evolving music.

Words by Bruno Bellisario