Calling Downtrodder “angry” is an absolute understatement. The Philly outfit’s newest release, II, is blistering in every sense of the word, ferociously blurring the thin line between hardcore and post-hardcore.
Showing growth in leaps and bounds since earlier releases, the most impressive part of the EP has to be its instrumentation. The band’s ability to juxtapose fast rhythms and beats with heavier dissonant chords creates a driving energy in the songs. In non-musical terms, the EP turn from shredding with speed to dark and heavy movements on a dime, with the heavy beatdowns fueled by vocalist Kate Meyer’s harsh vocals.
For new listeners, Drowntrodder could be described like a perfect mix between post-hardcore powerhouses Touche Amore and Philly’s own Paint it Black. The band rips, but in an intelligent sort of way. Every strum, drum hit, and transition feels planned. That factor alone sets Downtrodder apart from many bands in the genre. Through repeat listens the band wants you to remain critical, and to and notice every aspect of their songs; not just the vocals or their heavier parts. It’s obvious that the band has spent the time carefully picking apart and building up each individual aspect of their songs, something listeners will begin to appreciate right away.
Another positive aspect of this release is that the lyrics are relatable, understandable, and easy to digest. Though Kate writes from her own perspective, the lyrics don’t feel too over-the-top or too distant. Instead, they are simple and to the point, painting a story of struggle that many people can relate to.
Downtrodder definitely represent the outspoken youth. They are angry, they are disappointed, and at times, they are downright disgusted with the state of society. One song on the EP that wraps it all up nicely is “Business Acumen,” the first single the band dropped off this record. They don’t pull any punches on this jam. Downtrodder’s pissed off, and they’re not afraid to say so. With lyrics like “So fragile, so delicate. Skin thinner than an eggshell, spine weaker than clay. If you’re gonna insult me, gutless, say it to my goddamn face. If we’re such a problem, why’d you take the oath in the first place?” its easy to tell that the band is frustrated, ad their release is through aggressive rock music.
With that being said, the band does consciously spread a message of activism. They want fans to stand up for themselves, for others, and to make it abundantly clear that while things have gone to shit, things are never too far gone. Downtrodder is tired of sitting back and spectating through life. Throughout II they encourage listeners to stand up and start being the change.
The band ends the ep with a powerful mantra screaming “Let’s talk strategy for 2018. I’ll hold onto this anger. No normalization, no collaboration. Block, disrupt, resist! If I go down, I will go down swinging! Block, disrupt, resist! I’ll throw myself on the gears and the wheels to stop this machine.Show you what ungovernable means. And now we’re stuck with this. No way out.” Enough said.
Stream Downtrodder’s latest release, II, below via Bandcamp: