Somehow I didn’t know Spain has a punk rock scene – I do now thanks to Madrid's Never Draw Back. They play a version of that pop punk style that is oh so popular with the kids these days. I'm admittedly not a fan of this style of punk but Never Draw Back's new album Decisions came with a great recommendation so I decided to check it out.
The opening song, Way To Exit, serves as a mission statement for the whole record. It's only forty-seven seconds long but has some powerful lyrics about being the person you want to be rather than the person someone else wants you to be. The first "proper" song is called Dream On Dreamer. This track is a really positive song about following your dreams no matter how big or daunting they seem. Musically it's what you would expect from this genre of music, thumping drum beats, crunching guitars and infectious poppy vocals mixed with a hard edge. I enjoyed the slow, methodical drum beat that opened the following song, Decisions. After a slow start the song jumps into life and gives off a lot of energy. The vocal delivery in this song feels much more aggressive than the opener and this prevents the track sounding like a carbon copy. My Judgement starts of in super angry mode with a shout of "ALL YOUR FUCKING WORDS ARE BULLSHIT AND I WILL NOT CARE." This really caught my attention and made me want to hear more. The rest of the track was actually fairly poppy; it's all about making the choices you want to make and not worrying about what other people think about that.
The fifth song, This Shit, makes excellent use of the two different vocal styles, beginning with a gruff hardcore shout before switching to the clean, pop vocal. This track is about the strong bond of friendship and, for me, the final four lines of the chorus sum up friendship perfectly - "Playing Stupid Games, We Became Best Friends, If We Were In Trouble, We Supported Each Other, Separated Strong, Together Invincible”. The next song, Metal’s Avenue, tackles an interesting song topic. It talks about the bands transformation from a metalcore band into the pop punk band they are today and how right this feels. You can tell from some of the riffs that Never Draw Back have been influenced heavily by metal music. An Apology, the seventh song, is another short one, only thirty-five seconds long. It really slows things down and shows a more thoughtful side to the band.
As I'm sure that you can guess from the title, Damn Fast is played at a quick tempo and is a real head banger of a tune. The chorus, with it's simple chant of "WE ARE! WE ARE! WE ARE!", would get a huge reaction from a live crowd I’m sure. Wild! sees Never Draw Back tackle the subject of animal rights, specifically those animals who spend their lives in cages. The overall message of the song is that animals, like humans, have the right to be free. The track falls more into a melodic skate punk sound and is my favourite on the album. The dual trading vocals add excellent urgency to the track and make it feel important. The tenth song is named Not The One and features somebody called Sito Shutter. This song eventually finds itself in screamo territory with some impressive growls and screams. Normally I'm not keen on this style but it does add an extra element to the song to stop it becoming just another pop punk song.
Glorious is another interesting short little song. It's just a fifty-eight second instrumental and serves two great purposes. Firstly to calm things down after the initial rowdiness of Not The One and secondly as a nice long intro to the next song The Power Of Conviction. This song starts off with some big crowd pleasing whoa-ohs before becoming another song about being strong enough to follow your dreams. A key element in Decisions is positive songs about going for what you want and that is a big reason for me enjoying it as much as I did. The final song on the album is titled Ten Years....We Are [True Believers]. This song is about sticking with being in band through the hard times because you absolutely love what you're doing. The first part of the song is good, fast skate punk before the band slow things down with a break down and then end on one final assault of melodic punk mayhem.
Stream and buy Decisions here: https://neverdrawback.bandcamp.com/album/decisions
Like Never Draw Back here: https://www.facebook.com/NeverDrawBack