Twelve months ago Drown This City – aka Melbourne’s next breakout post-hardcore mob – came face-to-face with the possibility that their momentum might be stopped dead in its tracks. After the sudden departure of a key member the band were on the brink of breaking down, but instead doubled down on their creativity, turned frailty into strength, and ultimately, a potential end into a new beginning. Now with their colossal EP Alpha // Survivor at hand, Drown This City are spreading a message of resolve in the face of what looked like overwhelming odds.
Lead vocalist Alex Reade explains that the band – completed by bassist/vocalist Matthew Bean, guitarists Laurence Appleby and Josh Renjen and drummer Anthony Pallas – have come off the back of the past year a stronger, more solidified unit than ever. They’ve supported each other in their darkest personal moments, focused everything on coming out on top of it all, and have emerged refreshed and raring to charge into bold new territory.
Alpha // Survivor is a powerful embrace of and response to the darkness this band has been through. It is fiercely personal to all members, but Reade in particular, who amid personal turmoil was fascinated by the duality of both a powerful survivor and a broken victim warring within herself.
“You can be the most powerful creator in one moment, and the weakest broken soul in the next, it’s just a choice, and the battle is only ever within yourself and with your thoughts,” she explains. “All ofthese songs are about that message and how they relate in love and life and an ongoing quest for self-discovery and empowerment.”
The release is a deeply emotional exertion that encompasses stories of heartbreak, anxiety, pain, expectation and brokenness. ‘Null’ – arguably the most brooding track on the release – captures Reade begging herself to uncover her internal pain, crying “Show me why I can’t be loved / show me what happened to me,” while ‘Void’ finds her staring down the barrel of debilitating on-stage anxiety (“All I wanted was to be heard, and all I got was pain and insecurity” / “when your dreams turn out to be nightmares, and now I’m living out my worst fears.”)
“Through our music we connect with our darker selves, our deepest struggles and pains,” she explains. “But we aren’t afraid anymore, the inner battle is a cycle of destruction and re-birth and seeking within yourself to find your ultimate power.”
‘Stay Broken’ encapsulates this message perfectly – its lyrics crying “Alpha, realise your power,” while lead single ‘In Your Image’ captures the paradigm shift of the song’s protagonist, Reade, from a broken victim into a powerful hero. Ultimately there’s plenty of pain to be found on this EP, but its core message is how we all have it in us to rise above our pain in power.
“Don’t be afraid of your own power, your own ability to heal and be strong and be above everyone else,” Reade adds. “Even if it’s lonely up there – it’s where you belong.”
Soaking in new attitudes and new music, Drown This City are poised to mark a definitive new era in 2019. Alpha // Survivor drops Friday July 5 via UNFD.