Drug Honkey – Ghost In The Fire Review

Fundamentally speaking, there are two types of drug honkeys. There are those that prefer to go up, that get high to get higher and faster, and there are those looking to go down.

This Drug Honkey is the downer kind.

From the Department of Better Late Than Never comes this review, almost a year past due, but it’s at least partly fitting because it’s not like Drug Honkey gets in a hurry. At all. They move like dying primordial slothosaurs; they lumber; they trudge; they drag themselves through the filthy mire, a ravaged and wheezing beast decaying and drowning in equally slow measure. This music is not of the feel-good kind – it’s anything but that, really. This is the type of music that requires a shower, a stiff drink, a pick-me-up, a picture of puppies, the sniffing of a pretty little flower, a call to your helpful suicide prevention friend, another hit, or just anything to pull your psyche back from the tar-black precipice. But, of course, that’s the desired effect.

And on paper, given that end goal, Ghost In The Fire functions exceptionally well. In practice, it’s more accurate to say that I get understandably fatigued by the 30-bpm, severely downtuned Swans / Godflesh slow-death-by-hangover, and my mind begins to wander, though that’s not as much a condemnation of Drug Honkey’s ability as it may seem. I mean, how much monochromatic, electronic-tinted, fuzz-bass misery can one endure, especially when it’s presented with such compelling and bleak dedication to the craft? I suppose, instead of my mind wandering, it would be more apt to say that it runs away. It’s just self-preservation, really.

I’m not intimately familiar with Drug Honkey’s catalog, but Ghost In The Fire feels like the sonic perfection of their attack, even though I think that some trimming-down would help. Given the sheer hopelessness of it all, it’s a bit much even as it’s more of the same crushing un-riffs, crashing chords and bass-heavy drones. Between the un-riffs and the dirty, dubby bass blurbles, effected drum loops and ambient samples float eerily atop live drumbeats, adding a certain creepiness to the agony. Vocalist Honkey Head sputters, groans, and growls, his performance the most distinctive, disturbing, and disturbed aspect of the otherwise fairly straightfoward funereal semi-industrial noise-doom approach. The songs blur together into one long landscape of misery – the lack of riffs or hooks blends the parts into a whole, ebbing and flowing through waves of pain, but never such that one fit of depression outweighs another.

So while it’s true that Drug Honkey has mastered their sludge-paced, emotion-wracking desolation, it’s equally true that their trick is one trick, and not a particularly innovative trick, though it’s hammered home slowly and endlessly and effectively. Across fifty-one minutes, the perpetual crawling agony desensitizes me in much the same manner that (I would imagine) prolonged actual drug-addled, suicidal misery likely would. (I’d have probably offed myself the equivalent of a good twenty minutes earlier, honestly. I’m not good with pain.)

But again, that’s the name of this game. Downer music for the downer set, and used sparingly, a good time…

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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