When singer/guitarist Mariana was contemplating her future, and what she actually wanted to do and to be, her answer to herself was to be in a punk band. The result is Death Pill, the Ukraine hardcore punk power trio, and they are now set to unleash their self-titled debut album.
Death Pill – Death Pill (New Heavy Sounds)
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Jools Green
“You are a 20-year-old girl,” Mariana says. “Society constantly puts pressure on you. You should find a nice husband, have children, and at the same time build a successful career. But no one asks what do you really want. What are exactly your interests and ambitions?”
Mariana decided she “could create a female non-commercial band, play heavy, high-quality music, and ignite the crowd. After all, rock is not only about brutal men with long curly hair, right?”
Developing the idea with Anastasiya, the drummer, they were joined eventually by the right bassist Nataliia, and getting someone on the same page proved challenging. Releasing an EP in 2018, proving, as many females before have also done, that it’s no longer a solely male domain, but it’s a little more complex for them given their location. Not that they’ve been put off, even though the odds have been repeatedly stacked against them.
The album tracking started during Covid-19 and was completed in late 2021. Only three tracks were mixed before the war hit, but the band and their production team were able to somehow continue and finish everything, including the artwork, in five months whilst the illegal Russian invasion rolled on. That’s determination for you.
Sound-wise, Death Pill melds elements of Metalcore and punk rock with plenty of Riot Grrrl vibe in there for good measure. They are inspired by a mix of the classic punk of Black Flag, The Distillers and Circle Jerks, as well as modern outfits like Swedish female-fronted hardcore punks Axe Rash, all female Thrash icons Nervosa and Thrash legends Exodus.
Opening with Dirty Rotten Youth, a Hardcore beast of a track with a smouldering intro, with on-point switching and some great protraction on the vocals. Now Death Pill have your attention, and they make sure they keep it with Miss Revolt, a track about how every girl is a riot girl, which, for those unaware, Riot Grrrl, is a cultural and political movement founded in Olympia in the 1990s, started by women, fed up with sexism in the punk music scene. It’s a track that is packed with punch and groove, and unrelenting addictiveness.
Die For Vietnam is a lovely bass-rich driver with a great melodic undercurrent and a large percentage of clean melodic singing from Mariana, which is superb. The time shifting is excellent, from up-tempo thrashy drive to slower crunchy heavy riffs that plough through with intent and thrashy leadwork. A superb track, and then Друг which translates as Drug, a short sharp driver again with a mix of clean and shouty vocals.
It’s A Joke is about the victims of violence and abuse, with superb hardcore driving riffs. Go Your Way is an anthemic punk number, a call to action, with a mix of clean sung and shouty vocals, slick switching in pace and direction. Kill The Traitors is likewise a “seek and destroy all those, who once betrayed you” track, says Mariana, with, sound-wise, a Thrash leaning.
Расцарапаю Ебало literally translates as Scratch Asshole and is dedicated to Mariana’s ex. “If you hear it, honey, you should know I’ll scratch your fucking face until it bleeds,” she says. I guess that relationship ended badly. However, the track is catchy as hell, has superb direction and tempo switching that is super slick and is a superb chunk of hardcore. So something positive has come out of the situation, and no doubt it’s been cathartic too.
The final piece, Would You Marry Me? also hits on another personal note. “This song is about how once I made a marriage proposal to my boyfriend, but he refused me,” Mariana says. “This song is about our wedding.” It’s a hardcore driver that has a strong melodic aspect from the clean vocals too.
Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine really changed the band’s plans, dreams, and attitude. They are now spread out. Mariana is in Kyiv, Nafa is in Spain, and Nataliia is in Australia and are staying in touch online.
With the Death Pill release date of 24 February 2023, perhaps, fittingly a year to the day that Russia invaded Ukraine and although things are uncertain, the band are still strong and still together. With determined plans to get Death Pill over to the UK to showcase the album, something I would love to witness.
Death Pill will be released on limited edition white with red splatter vinyl housed in a full-colour single sleeve with a printed lyric inner. Full download included. There will also be a limited CD version in a 4-panel digipack with a 12-page lyric booklet. It will also be available on all digital platforms.