After his tenure as vocalist for Asking Alexandria came to an end, Denis Stoff seemed inactive, yet after a year of silence he has launched his new project, Drag Me Out, who just mere days after their public unveiling have surprise released their debut album, ‘Pressure’.
Completing the group is guitarist Stas Belov, bassist Easy Target, and drummer Chris Nokia, all of whom bring a catchy and driving platform for Stoff‘s impressive range of vocals.
Opener ‘It Was Easy’ showcases strong vocal melodies guiding Nokia‘s sporadic rhythmic patterns during the verses, whilst Belov adds a staccato bounce to transform a chunky bridge. What makes the track standout, however, is a constant change of hooks, with each section holding its own. Whether this is found with Stoff‘s call-and-response in the chorus, or with Nokia‘s addition of double kick patterns in the second verse to keep momentum.
The group’s strength in layering hooks is found throughout the album, creating a dense wall of melodies and riffs to discover. Whilst it may have been simple to allow Stoff to do the heavy lifting, in which he would be more than capable to do so as evidenced in the range shown on ‘Promise’ and the eponymous track ‘Drag Me Out’, it’s clearly a collective force and balance for the most part.
This approach works well, giving strength to tracks such as ‘A Reason Ahead Of You’. Switching from stuttering beats to groove based riffs, it works with soft and harsh elements throughout, creating a textured soundscape for multiple hooks to move around.
Solid song writing is shown on ‘Right Through’, which jumps through multiple changes with cohesion. It flutters between soft crooning and ambient pads, to wide and crunching sing-along choruses within seconds. Not content with having a one-two punch of the verse and chorus, the bridge brings in tribal drum patterns, lead note voicings, and overtone melodies to sharpen the composition.
With the record rarely pausing, it seems fitting that ‘I Don’t Know You’ ends proceedings on a subdued note, focusing on soft vocal melodies and simple harmony; an appropriate end to a high-octane record.
With ‘Pressure’, Drag Me Out have created a strong collection of tracks that could easily gain airplay, but in saying this, whether or not the group can escape the shadow of Stoff‘s former efforts at this stage remains to be seen.