This short cassette from Drag Age (Kevin McEleney of Droughter) comes to us from the great Out-Of-Body Records in a delightful package, the kind of design that the label is known for. There’s only two tracks on this release, meaning that it’s super easy to get a quick listen in and get out again. Drag Age is rhythmic death industrial bordering on power electronics; both tracks are laden with synth and beats, and often capture the darker atmosphere with tortured vocals.
The first track, “Lords of Bronze,” is a pulsing affair, starting out with a thick slab of vibrating synth chord before easing into a rhythm; there are industrial clangs in the background and an echo like a meat factory, building up to some more stabbing synth lines that shudder throughout. It’s repetitive, but the layers of sound are nice, and there’s even a steady beat behind it once the track really gets going. Plus Drag Age incorporates some vocals to give it an added disturbance.
Then the flip side, “Reveal the Guise”, gets things nice and dirty with a really dark synth riff. It’s rigid and fairly straightforward, the kind of chord progression you might find on a doom record, and it’s pretty damn great. But there’s an expectation for this track to continue forward, to develop and explode, and it never really does so. Nasty distorted vocals do add a touch of intensity to it, but I also wanted “Reveal the Guise”‘s synth part to open up a bit.
Mask of a Crushed Insect isn’t a bad release, but I do feel it a bit underdeveloped. Its short format means that the two tracks must stand alone well, and while there are spots where Drag Age finds excellent footing, some of the more repetitive aspects hinder the tape, especially when each track only hits the six-minute mark.