8Overall Score


There’s something special laced in that Californian air, and DRAIN are living proof of it. Serving up their own brand of sunkissed frustration and breakneck optimism, the Santa Cruz collective are some of the finest Cali hardcore exports to date. Following on from 2020’s California Cursed LP, LIVING PROOF is equally as ripe with gristly breakdowns and gloriously cathartic crowd rousers. Bold, brash and violently passionate, this whiplash of an album is here to scratch your hardcore itch and then some. 

In true DRAIN fashion, not a second is wasted on this record; right out the gates, opener Run Your Luck is a spittle-flecked burst of sturdy blast beats and antagonising vocals. Even the album’s Intermission is glorious, the short-but-sharp breakaway a tense and exhilarating hip-hop-hardcore fusion. DRAIN’s formula is like a rush of blood to the head, the sound immediately flicking a switch – the girthy, raw hardcore is all-consuming, transforming you into something feral.

LIVING PROOF is a treasure trove of hardcore goodies for this very reason. There’s something visceral and alive captured on track, perfectly embodying the energy of a hardcore show within its short runtime. From Devil’s Itch to the raging rumble of title-track Living Proof, you’re sucked into the thick of the pit; each howl mentally coats you in sweat, planting you in the centre of a crowded room that will most likely leave you with a couple of bruises and a nosebleed. Imposter in particular is a total stand-out, with a tempo that sweeps you off your feet, tailor-made for frantic circle pits and wave-after-wave of crowdsurfers. 

Amidst the destructive catharsis and rage, there are a few tracks that contain that staple breakneck optimism. FTS (KYS) serves up riotously thrashy good vibes, the unconventionally optimistic yells of ‘kill yourself’ urging listeners to destroy themselves in order to come back stronger. A Descendents cover Good Good Things also serves as a brilliant tonal shift, overflowing with wholesome punk rock vibes. The cover’s softer vocals are also a satisfying switch up and a sign of DRAIN’s musical abilities outside of their usual snappy scrappy forte.

LIVING PROOF is a true example of all-killer-no-filler. It’s a foam-at-the-mouth onslaught of satisfying hardcore, every track thick and gruelling enough to sink your teeth into. While the energy of a hardcore show can never be entirely captured on track, DRAIN undeniably do it justice – but we definitely can’t wait to see how these tracks come to life live. So… who’s opening up the pit, then?

Living Proof is out now.