Debut LP from this Chicago band that is a new iteration of Broken Prayer. If you were a fan of Broken Prayer it’s hard to imagine how you wouldn’t be on board with Droid’s Blood, since they rely on a similar combination of noisy hardcore and whirring synth topped with Scott Plant’s trademark topical lyrics and distinctive vocals.
Since 2016 Plant has been fronting Droids Blood, whose lineup also includes Broken Prayer drummer Nick Donahue. On their new self-titled tape, they vary the tempos more and even add some borderline poppy hooks, but there's also lots of grimy, slightly industrial synth gunk and bass murk—"Unreality" sounds deranged in the best possible way.
"As a rush of drums introduces Droids Blood’s debut album Be Free, you might think you know what to expect. Maybe some snappily energetic powerpop in the vein of The Marked Men, or even some Uranium Club-styed post-garage oddball punk? As the guitars kick in, however, all your preconceptions are reduced to rubble; smashed to dust and debris by a singularly powerful wrecking ball of chaos and darkness. Something immediately goes very wrong – and it feels so fkn right.
This album was initially self-released on cassette by the band, earlier this year in their hometown of Chicago. Featuring vocalist Scott Plant and drummer Nick Donahue – formerly of that city’s pleasingly gnarly synth-punx Broken Prayer, whose sole album was titled Misanthropocentric A.K.A. Droid's Blood, funnily enough – they make a whirling racket of post-punk noise, goth soundscape and beautifully bleak frustration illustrating the narrow line between aggression and desperation. If dystopia was a sound, it’d be this one.
Our take: Longtime Sorry State fans might recognize Droid’s Blood as the subtitle of the second Broken Prayer album that we released back in 2015, and indeed Droid’s Blood features two former members of Broken Prayer and continues to develop BP’s unique hybrid of synth-punk, new wave, post-punk, and hardcore. If I had to narrow down Sorry State’s 100-ish releases to my five favorite, Broken Prayer’s Misanthropocentric would be one of them, and Be Free is just as good or better. I’d be hard-pressed to even list everything I love about this band because I listen to them all the time and every time I find something new that blows my mind. Let’s start, though, with Scott Plant’s incredible lyrics, which have grown more cryptic as of late but remain as vivid and as thought-provoking as they ever were. Droid’s Blood have a great hardcore band’s gift for building and releasing tension by throttling the speed and density, but the extra layer of synth gives them even more dynamic range and makes the freakout parts a heady swirl of melody and timbre. Yet, despite how dense, how aggressive, and how chaotic it can sound, you’ll walk away from Be Free with at least a few earworm bits following you around. (Every time I listen to this record I repeat “look at the shape of the star child’s skull” over and over to myself.) If you’re familiar with Broken Prayer, hopefully you’ve already picked up Be Free, but if you haven’t, I can’t recommend this record enough. Droid’s Blood are without a doubt one of the most unique, challenging, creative, and important bands in punk rock right now.