Melee – Dogleg
★ ★ ★ ★
Dogleg’s debut album, Melee is a cathartic dosage of destructive riffs and screamed vocals that evoke immediate comparison to Joyce Manor’s brutal self-titled, albeit more technical. The Michigan trio, with multiple EPs under their belt before this release, wear their influences proudly on their sleeve without ever managing to sound derivative. Melee is a breathless 35-minute assault that takes the best of emo revival and injects it with a hefty dosage of steroids.
Opener “Kawasaki Backflip” is a blistering beginning to an album that refuses to let up for a second, “Hotlines” is a highlight towards the middle, mixing more traditional emo vocals with howled post-hardcore-esque ones in a call-and-response structure, all accompanied by a driving riff. “Headfirst” delves right into classic hardcore territory with irregular time signatures but shifts the goalposts by making twinkling riffs. The album’s drumming deserves an honourable mention, managing to bring an indescribable sense of impact when combined with the harsh vocals and heavily distorted guitar tones. The closer, the aptly named “Ender” is emotionally shredding both lyrically and instrumentally, acting as a fine form of punctuation to the album. The final, entirely instrumental outro is a much-appreciated moment of calm for the listener.
Matthew Derwin – Music Editor