Author: Brendan Blake
- Artist: Abdullah / Dragonauta
- Album: Abdullah / Dragonauta
- Year of Release: 2005
- Country: USA / Argentina
- Label: Dias de Garage
- Format: Jewelcase CD
- Catalogue Number: CD 006
Inconsequential, but diverting.
Split releases continue to be a thing to this day, and can serve as a taster to encourage punters to acquire bands’ wider discographies, but rarely allow the artists to spread their wings and demonstrate what they are capable of in a way that a full-length can. At worst, they can dilute the impact of one or both bands, leading to these releases being consigned to dusty shelves to ultimately be forgotten. That is pretty much the case with this release, but that is not to say there isn’t anything worth paying attention to.
Abdullah occupy the first half of the disc and build on the strengths of their previous albums. ‘Seven Doors’ is a strong opener, recalling prior efforts with its commercial stoner riffing and well-polished vocals suggesting that this is a band that could have been bigger than they ultimately were. ‘Killing For Culture’ in particular stands out for its outstanding punky upbeat nature, and is unmistakably sipping from the well of Danzig in the chorus.
All tracks were recorded at various times throughout 2004 at Forked Tongue, aside from the finale ‘With Guilt’, recorded during 2003 at Mushroomhead’s Jam Room by Pat Lewis. This latter track is arguably the most commercial they recorded, recalling the 70s greats to which they clearly aspire, before the closing feedback drone that others have made an artform out of.
Dragonauta are a completely unknown quantity to me, and an interesting change of mood. They remind me of a slightly leery pub rock band, clearly in love with the 70s (Sabbath abounds here). I really quite like this, but it is hard not to come to the conclusion it is hugely derivative – listening to it, I’m playing spot the riff, picking up Sabbath, Motorhead, Hawkwind, and various NWOBHM bands. There is a direct Slayer lift on their second track ‘Revolución Luciferiana’. ‘Letargo Espiritual’ is probably the best thing on this album, starting as pure blues, before becoming more akin to the kind of thing you might expect from Orange Goblin (if they were fronted by a particularly raspy Spanish version of Lemmy). Production at this point is excellent, with the bass deservedly well up in the mix.
The final two tracks of the release are live Dragonauta efforts, and sadly the recording quality is pretty thin, which makes the overall recording quite uneven (in fact, I’m left wondering why they were included in the first place to be honest). It does not mean the songs themselves are terrible, and the contrast between the slick Abdullah numbers and the more ‘in your face’ Dragonauta material makes for a refreshing contrast.
By no means essential to, well, anyone really – unless you happen to be a diehard fan of either band, but a perfectly passable way to spend an afternoon.