In the 2004-2006 post-hardcore boom, Chiodos was a big deal.  Their ability to combine operatic orchestration with metal guitar riffs set them apart from other bands, and their vocalist Craig Owens was an outlier in this otherwise very generic scene.

Since his departure from Chiodos, fans have been eagerly waiting to hear something new from Owens. Enter the eponymous debut of Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows (D.R.U.G.S.).

The first single “If You Think This Song Is About You, It Probably Is” was met with mixed reactions from longtime fans of Chiodos. Although the absence of the epic pianos and the Owens’ guttural roars make their sound differ greatly from Chiodos’s, their signature fast-paced metal guitar riffs are still alive and well. Owens’ isn’t showing quite the musical range he used to with Chiodos, but his vocals are better and significantly less strained.

“D.R.U.G.S” has its high points. “The Only Thing You Talk About” is a newly recorded version of a song Owens recorded with Chiodos, and it remains as intense as the original demo. Another highlight is the album’s closer and tale of betrayal, “My Swagger Has A First Name.” Spidery guitar lines and a chorus backed by gang style vocal inflections makes this a track that even the most cynical listeners will want to get up and mosh to.

Despite the album’s high points, the biggest failure comes from some of Owens’ lyrics; what was once a shining factor of Chiodos’ success is now a mixed bag at best.  The chorus from the song “Sex Life” repeats: “If you had a sex life, would you even worry about mine?/When your bed is empty, you’re a waste of time.”  It sounds more like an embarrassing letter to an ex than a single for a major band and isn’t on par with any of the poetic lyrics found elsewhere in Owens’ large discography.

It’s the sad truth, but Craig Owens is probably the main selling point of D.R.U.G.S. His talent is what’s going to attract listeners, but it’s far from his best work. Owens is going to have to get back to the creative place he was in during his time with Chiodos in order to take D.R.U.G.S to the next level.


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