Review: “Worthless” by DAO

Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Tom Dring at Vagrant Recordings during 2018 and 2019, vocalist Lewis, drummer David, bassist John and guitarist duo Ben and Mike made the collective decision to go with a debut full length after 2018 debut single “Father” rather than do an EP and test the water with their sound. Which tells us, without even listening to a song that DAO are confident in their sound and style and are making the music they want to make. Citing bands like Botch, Gaza, Drowning Man, Nine Iron Spitfire, Keelhaul and Everytime I Die as influences and with cover art from Tash Koziarska, it’s time we checked out “Worthless”.

As you might expect given the cited influences, DAO bring a chaotic Hardcore style to opening tune “Failure” with blistering off kilter poly-rhythmic patterns tearing the place up from the very start. The early career Everytime I Die influence is big in opening cut in the music with the guitar tone with the key point of difference being Lewis’s barked gravely vocals. Reducing some of that chaos to allow for an off kilter melodic bass bridge into the final breakdown with Lewis screaming “I’m just a failure” repeatedly is a masterful moment. You can only imagine their live shows being utter bedlam. “Fickle Flame” changes gear after a few moments of feedback white noise before a full throttle pounding that live would be a case of who can play faster, hold on to your hats. Fine use of odd time signatures with strangely timed momentary pauses makes it a quirky and fun listen as the riffs cross between Hardcore, Punk and Metal phrasings with the grace of a gazelle. Another moment of ambient white noise ushers in “May, You’re Bringing Me Down” with a headrush. Whipping up a brush fire and running away while it burns down the neighbors barn with guitar work that has bits of Sludge Metal and tempo shifts a plenty, the barked lyrics of a broken relationship aren’t the woe is me that you might have expected.

You might think that “Jacob” would thunder in with the subtlety of a brick through your front window but musically it has so much going on as a short sharp shock of a tune that you catch it all without multiple listens. Similarly “Father” takes no prisoners with it’s self destructive fire storm and screams of “Misery” and “You help me remember” in with some lead parts showcasing a deep South influence. “Interlude” is simply a pallet cleanser that builds on the white noise between earlier tracks with audible music buried in the sound that you have to strain to hear and clears the path for “Delusional Man” to smash through the barricade like a tank. Relentlessly pummeling, it takes the best of the previous work and summaries the bands sound neatly while leaving no room for survivors of the plane crash. “New Normal” takes the Mathcore to a new level sinking its teeth in and refusing to let go. If you’re looking for an album that will take you by the scruff of the neck and drag you through a hedge backwards before leaving you p*** soaked in the gutter, thankful for the sheer adrenaline rush, then this is it [7.5/10]

1. Failure
2. Fickle Flame
3. May, You’re Bringing Me Down
4. Everything
5. Jacob
6. Father
7. Interlude
8. Delusional Man
9. New Normal

“Worthless” by DAO is out 27th September with single “Failure” available over at bandcamp


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