Death Pill by Death PillRelease date: February 24, 2023
Label: New Heavy Sounds
Death Pill are a hardcore punk trio that have likely never acknowledge, maybe not even have heard of the term ‘frills’ when it comes to heavy music. Their self-titled debut album consists of nine tracks that run to little over twenty-minutes in length. There is absolutely no fat to cut of this lean, all-powerful beast.
The band are an all-female trio that bridge the cap between riot grrl punk rock and a blend of thrash metal and metalcore that offers up a familiar sound, but with just enough of a unique vibe to be endlessly pleasurable. Sometimes with music in this vein a first listen or two can be incredibly joyful, but the quality dissolves with repeated listens and contact with reality and the wider canon of releases occurring around it. Not so with Death Pill.
Death Pill consist of Mariana, Anastasiya and Natalya who hail from Kyiv, Ukraine. It should go without saying to anyone reading these pages that the fact this trio of women who worship at the altar of The Distillers, Black Flag and Nervosa have managed to record an album during a pandemic, and then subsequently release an album is even more extraordinary and terrible circumstance only speaks to their resolve, purpose, and power. They have most certainly translated that unbridled angst into their debut LP.
That’s not to say that their focus is myopic – with much of the record rather a critique of Ukrainian and indeed wider society as a whole; the fact that young women still get railroaded into conversations by family and friends about becoming wives and mothers from a ridiculously young age, and that the heavy music scene (be that rock, punk or metal) is still a forbidding place for young women, even those with the hardest outer shells and most passionate hearts.
The musicianship and commitment on display across Death Pill is undeniable, a raging whirlwind of discontent and fervour. However, unlike many of their contemporaries, this trio have a sense of melodicism that the finest riot grrl bands always had in the arsenal, even if it often hasn’t been their most celebrated facet. ‘Go Your Way’ is a stand-out on the record, going incredibly hard, but having a gorgeous clean vocal passage that is not only an earworm but really adds soul to the message.
‘Miss Revolt’ and closing track ‘Would You Marry Me’ showcase their core sound and surely the instigation for the band itself; that they not only have their agency, but should have that individualism, personality and right to choose their own path utterly enshrined not only in law but general society’s norms.
Across such a short amount of time, their self-titled record is a fantastic distillation of what the band can do, and it’s exciting to see how the trio can add greater refinement, potentially even greater complexity, subtlety, and venom to their songwriting in the coming years and releases. Surely a sight to behold live, we can only hope the band are safe (the record was somewhat fittingly officially released on the one-year anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia), and manage to find their way around the world to bring their vitally important message and Ukrainian blend of old school punk and modern thrash to hungry audiences.