School Drugs and ‘Absolution’ // #2 (26/08/22)

School Drugs – New Jersey, USA

School Drugs and 'Absolution' // #2

It’s been some time but the release of School Drugs and Absolution // #2 edge ever closer to the completion of a writhing entirety. The New Jersey four-piece but a year ago via the excellent Indecision Records released part one of a four-part run of 7″ releases eventually determined to coalesce as a full LP known as Funeral Arrangements. Before hurtling face first into the next set of existential east coast Hardcore from School Drugs, I’d recommend giving Visitation a once over as I did a year agoHere.

Visitation took the power of the band’s previous full-length, Modern Medicine and merged such with a melodious but by no means power-dampening refinement. School Drugs slid seamlessly between Hardcore Punk rife with crooning, streamlined melodic guitar work, eerie forays into Neo-Crust Punk a la the same or presented canonical Melodic Hardcore wearing its rooted history pridefully. On the misanthropic ‘No Taste’, the band’s OG west coast US inclinations toward seminal names I need not mention, own the first verse. Circular Jerks, colour devoid flags and latter halves of popular expletives. The warped nature of that era is then fed through a latter, mania-spun, almost psych-led refrain before School Drugs build towards a final exclamation. 

School Drugs
All photography: Ryan Johnson

‘Broken’ replicates the 1:06 of its predecessor but obliterates its efforts with incendiary ferocity. Consider Minor Threat if they had ignited after hearing the birth of D-Beat and Crust. ‘Broken’ is very much that exact bridge between the latter two of those genre locales with a heavier emphasis on the former. ‘Broken’ also marks another mania-warp of a refrain pondering a desperate plea to simply ‘make it work’. The band’s use of these down-tempo refrains and unhinged melodic guitars, again, depicts their acumen and knowledge of exactly how to navigate the more melodic side of the genre without losing the raw, effortlessly cathartic power. Said refrains, especially in the standout ‘Broken’, a track that “has you” from its opening pairing of D-Beat classicism and a finger-wagging bass rumble, also double up in contrasting and accentuating the unabated ‘core either side of it.

Visitation’s three-pronged protrusion into today’s existence paraded two tracks under the sway of the band’s varying permeation of Melodic Hardcore and eerie Crust before boasting an unsettling third display of the band’s whole. Absolution mirrors such with both ‘No Taste’ and ‘Broken’ standing genealogically linked yet crucially avoiding the risk of repetition. ‘Cold Hearted’ follows this pattern.

School Drugs

The band’s melodic guitars are less erratic but still present an unsettlingly ubiquitous, noxious mania looming behind an ode to the more “reserved” Punk dotted about their repertoire. ‘Cold Hearted’ is intense and ridden with Hardcore fervour as it delves into an existence where “everything” yields far less than is perceived. The band’s “fast Punk”, overlayed with said Hardcore fervour is uncomfortably foreboding. School Drug’s violent and erratic change in tempo past this halfway point represents this revelation as it cracks through such an integrity-devoid concept faster than can be processed. A shrill guitar lead equates the cold, bitter reality of the ‘cold-hearted world’ going beyond the “ideal” farcical vista. Vocally, Jurk’s range is freer on track three, as is the rest of the band’s navigation through an ever-widening and amorphous School Drugs modus operandi. 

‘Cold Hearted’ is now the second presentation of a more explorative, complex School Drugs chosen to close Absolution. There are still two more 7″s to come. Absolution can be preordered now from Indecision Records  – Here.


Founder of Ear Nutrition, Matt is sadly over 30 and first cut his words writing for the now defunct site, Musically Fresh. He enjoys a variety of guitar-driven music but can usually be found navigating a web of Skate Punk, Hardcore and everything in between.