“They Drew Their Plans Against Us are an industrial-metal/experimental band from Parts Unknown. Members and musicians change from song-to-song and each project is set to be unique in concept, style, and musicianship. Other than one central producer, no other participating musician is aware of the sound, shape or final outcome of each song until it is completed.” Now if that introduction to the band doesn’t intrigue you, or raise your expectations, then nothing will. If there’s anything that can be said about They Drew Their Plans Against Us, it’s that they have a singular and distinctive sound. The polyrhythmic drumming, the staccato guitar riffing, and soloing that’s as precise and tight as a surgical blade, the ethereal spoken word and rapped passages, complementary keyboard swells, and how everything locks into everything else rhythmically, is totally their own. And that’s a good thing because it illustrates a band that wants to carve out an identity in a world where piggy-backing someone else is often more celebrated than being yourself.
It shouldn’t be a surprising revelation then, when I tell you that their EP, “Derealize” is rife and ripping with all the aforementioned elements that define the band’s sound. What might be more on the surprising side of things, is how well put together and cohesive the material comprising this recording is, as well the overall performing and production excellence of the EP. Especially considering the introductory phrase: “no other participating musician is aware of the sound, shape or final outcome of each song until it is completed.”
Lead off track “Weltschmerz” mixes all of the expected above into a killer song. It starts with just a female spoken word voice, but the rest of it feels like a hydraulic metal crusher powered by an explosive alternating rhythmic drive, and supported by edgy rapping and bone-crushing riffs that dig deep into your ear canals.
“She Of The Ointment Jar” uses the same soft-loud technique to surprise you. It starts on a gentle organic intro with clean guitars and a mellow keyboard motif. The structure of the song then switches its dynamic dichotomy: screaming guitar riffs trade with hyper growling basslines and sublimely stacked percussion. This is vintage stuff for any lover of the genre.
At this point you’re fully engaged and engrossed in how They Drew Their Plans Against Us has steered its own formula in a positively captivating direction. “Paracusia” continues the mayhem with the racing synths and basslines playing an even bigger part in the mix.
The guitars however, are relentless and never give up their space, with layers of overdriven grind always swimming in the background. You can hear how much time, effort and dedication the project put into this EP with each passing song.
The power and energy of the guitars are extremely intense on “Serotonergic Neurotransmission”, one of my favorite songs. There are also surprise elements like a violin popping up in the middle of a bone-crushing passages, to further enhance the listening experience.
With high expectations set by the introduction to the band, They Drew Their Plans Against Us exceeded those expectations, and went above and beyond anything that I was prepared for. “Derealize” is a testament to what can be accomplished when creative minds put their heads together, and put forth a massive amount of effort.
This EP is simply a display of superb songwriting, excellent musicianship, and the absolute absence of any egocentrically-inclined elements usually associated with rock and metal music. If this is the future of They Drew Their Plans Against Us, the future is indeed bright!