Album Review: Fabricant - Drudge To The Thicket
Reviewed by Sam Jones
Fabricant aren’t a name I’m all too familiar with, however owing to the amount of marketing and hype this debut album of theirs was garnering I felt it deserved a checking out. Formed originally in 2010 out from California, United States, the band never further than a few Demos and a Split before parting ways in 2014. Yet fast forward to 2019 and it’d become apparent the band are finally in a position to return, releasing their first full length record for a September 15th 2023 release date. Currently signed on to a Profound Lore Records deal, it’s a great sign for a recently renewed band and the future that may be awaiting them soon. I’d heard plenty regarding this album and how it refuses to apply itself to conventions. So, let’s see what Drudge To The Thicket is all about.
I enjoyed just how bizarre and frayed the band’s style of death metal is. This isn’t some bludgeoning or crushing variation of songwriting like Cannibal Corpse or Incantation, instead we’ve got an approach that’s more in line with a modern Obscura-era of Gorguts. The band are incorporating technical elements into their songwriting that conventional extreme metal bands wouldn’t dare touch, but Fabricant are employing such aspects as if they were the norm entirely. It’s curious that the songwriting is this technical, borderline avant-grade and yet the band don’t include any singular phase in a track at all that allude to demonstrating what they can do. There’s no indication the band want to show off or showcase anything particularly superfluous throughout their performance; everything regarding the songwriting is hardwired towards providing the audience with a uniquely unusual and erratic performance. Their sound feels like fresh air for even amongst technical works of death metal, Fabricant still harness something that sets them apart from even this niche herd. Every riff, every utterance of tone; it’s completely deliberate.
As a result of the band’s unusual guitar tone and riff style, their impact is founded less in impact and more so in establishing a crazed soundscape that, owing to the heightened technical ability, is inescapable. But, the lighter tone has created a guitar attack that’s not as in your face as other death metal works would be; we still feel their strength but it’s a punch derived from ensnarement. Therefore, the drums have taken a much more prominent position in the mix whereupon drum fills and blast beats possess much grander weight to their performance, since guitar work otherwise gives the rest of the band more room to play with. But the riff technicality isn’t exclusive, for the drumming is just as fluidic and maddening; there isn’t really a single point during this record where I found the drumming was utilising any traditional 4/4 strike pattern, or anything conventionally expected. The band have no care for what you’re expecting and instead thrust us headfirst into the firmament that is this soundscape.
Interestingly, the band do not rely greatly on speed to achieve what they’re looking for with this record. Granted, the band do play fast and mercilessly with what they’ve got here and there are few indications they’ll play nicely with your expectations or what you’d want to discover herein, but the band’s strongest moments here tend to be when their tempo is brought down a touch and thereby allows us to really soak up these warped chords. Even when the band are working with higher tempos, the band don’t continue those sequences for too long before they bring things back to earth again, which in turn gives these bizarre riffs and licks the time needed to flesh them out accordingly. If this had been debited entirely to speed, and the band lend us zero time to absorb their songwriting, half the quality of this album would be lost on us. The band evidently wanted us to feel the power of these odd riffs and I’m not surprised; there have been examples of avant-grade riffs like what Fabricant have written.
The vocals are precisely the delivery needed for such an album that cares nought for our feelings. Where you have one style that’s much more gruff and is at home amongst the more destitute and bass-heavy portions of songwriting, you then have a higher rasp that’s much more appropriate with the band’s frantic, erratic riffs. Knowing it’s performed by a single person makes increasingly impressive and especially understanding the rapidity by which these vocals switch back and forth, and often within a single track too. The vocals are just as unpredictable as any form of instrumentation which helps to round out the record’s aesthetic as this testament to left-field songwriting. You’ll also find the vocals will be performed often during the band’s most sporadic and intense moments of songwriting, as if the band intended their soundscape to be all the more rampant with everything happening at once.
In conclusion, Fabricant’s Drudge To The Thicket is one unrelenting, unrepentant record that sees what the majority are doing right now in death metal and vehemently decides to go totally against the grain. Death metal typically isn’t this deranged nor are many bands willing to push the envelope as hard as Fabricant do so here; the band employ numerous technical elements within their songwriting yet I’d struggle to deem this as technical or avant-grade death metal. The focus is evidently geared towards that impactful sound, it’s merely propped up by this bizarre proclivity for left-field songwriting. I think this is going to be a band to watch, for few acts feel so naturally at home with their style of playing. It isn’t done for showmanship, it’s genuine and doesn’t come across like the band employed these ideas solely to be seen for attention. I also think it’s a record that will leave many unsure about its quality; Drudge To The Thicket is by no means a typically pleasing record for there’s little conventionally expected to be had here. For people though who appreciate the more savage but weird form of extreme metal, this is an album worth checking out.