DRK PRGRSSN Album Cover Art

Cleopatra Records
Release Date: 12/02/2021
Running Time: 67:48
Review By Beth Jones

So, here’s one for you. What do you get if you cross Kraftwerk, Rammstein, Judas Priest, and Clint Eastwood? That might sound like the start of some sort of terrible joke, but actually it’s a pretty good mental image of today’s subject band, CHMCL STR8JCKT, who sit comfortably in the niche genre of Outlaw Industrial Rock! Fusing old-school metal guitar sounds with ‘Wax Trax! era’ Industrial music, “DRK PRGRSSN” is the latest instalment of craziness from this New Jersey based quartet.

Now, according to their press release, they have ‘become known for a powerful, engaging live show with dark imagery and select theatrics to enhance the disturbing themes of their songs’. Listening to the album, I can totally imagine what their stage show would look like, and I would so be there if I got the chance!

At 17 tracks long, this album is an impressive body of work. It’s very cleverly put together too, in so much as, there are guitar driven classic heavy metal sections, and synth driven sections, with influences from Wax Trax right up to Neue Deutsche Härte, but you don’t even notice the change between the two, because they’ve been so well melded together.

As you may, or may not know, about 10 years ago I began to lose my hearing, which, as a musician, sucks massive balls! I wear hearing aids, which luckily help improve the top end of my hearing, where my main problem is, but it can still be hard to pick out individual lyrics within songs, because of all the other sounds going on. So, here’s the way that listening to this album went for me. It’s all crunching, and beaty, and hellishly groovy, and I’m having a real good old time, bopping away, getting into the groove, imagining lots of smoke machines/foam blowers/PVC/glo-sticks/lasers etc, and just funking out to the drops… and then I start reading the lyric sheet that we’ve been sent with the promo material…HOLY HELL in a hand cart they’re dark! To give you an example, the opening lines of the opening track, ‘Tendril and Blade’ are:

‘Sweet Sasha turned 14 and the gift she would receive,
would cause a lifetime of self-loathing and rage.’

It’s all in there. Abuse, guns, S&M, murder, depravity, madness, the Holocaust…but it’s all brilliantly narrative, with descriptive language that connects and comments more on the emotions, rather than the physical acts, which add an element of creating your own mental imagery and backstory to go with each song. It’s very clever.

Musically wise, synths are very definitely the king in CMCHL STR8JCKT’s sound. We get a variety of vocal styles, from clean singing, to growls, and spoken word. It’s very atmospheric, however you can’t get away from the classic guitar and percussive sounds of Heavy Metal, that hang about in the periphery. It’s hurting my brain trying to describe this properly, so let’s just go with ‘it’s great’! It’s interesting, it’s different, it pushes boundaries, and does something outside the norm, which is a huge gamble, but when it pays off, it’s sweet. And the gamble has definitely paid off for these guys. So, to sum up, and to follow the band’s lead in the concept of vowels in words being so last century, DRK PRGRSSN = FCKNG GR8. CHMCL STR8JCKT = FCKNG MNTL GRVY – LV THM!

‘Destroyer’ (Official Video)

01. Tendril And Blade
02. Texas
03. 1911
04. Chosen One
05. Destroyer
06. Death Of Lucille
07. Wrecking Machine
08. Capesius
09. Syrinx Is Gone
10. Harpy
11. Sacred Rope
12. Gonna Die
13. Invisible Sun
14. Somber Town
15. Ode To Peckinpah (Bloody Sam)
16. Fantasy Biohacker Mix
17. Baphomet Missing In STARS Remix

LINE-UP: (This took some bloody hunting out I can tell you, so I hope it’s right!)
Kevin Snell – Synths/Programming/Lead and Backing Vocals
Mike Cairoli – Guitars
Ian Omega – Percussion/Backing Vocals
Scott Luckman – Synths/Backing Vocals


Chmcl Str8jckt Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.