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Album Review: Low Dose by Low Dose

Grunge punk four-piece Low Dose release their debut, self-titled, album on 29th March via Brutal Panda / Knife Hits Records. Picture this: You’ve just spent nearly a week in the hospital with a severe kidney infection only to find out your husband has cancelled your health insurance. On purpose. Because you finally left him for good—because of his alcoholism. And his mistress.

That’s the situation Itarya Rosenberg found herself in while she and her new bandmates—Mike McGinnis, Jon DeHart and Dan Smith—were in the studio recording the album. “I had a 104-degree fever for two weeks,” she says. “I was sweating and shaking so bad. I recorded the first take of guitar tracks with a fever. So I went to urgent care thinking I could just get a prescription, but they were like, ‘You’re not leaving.’”

Eventually, Rosenberg got out of the hospital and the band finished the record. Then she began the slow, agonizing divorce process. “It took me months afterwards to realize it, but the cycle of abuse is fucking real,” she says. “I consider myself to be a pretty hard bitch—I don’t take shit from anyone—but I could never imagine being treated the way I was treated or have the shit done to me that was done to me. And still, whenever I saw even a glimmer of the person I fell in love with, it was like, “Yeah, here I am. What do you need?’”

Rosenberg documents that cycle—and all the hardship, emotional torment and manipulation that went along with it—in her lyrics on Low Dose. The album details her tumultuous relationship with her ex-husband, who was also a member of Rosenberg’s previous band, which was called—wait for it—Legendary Divorce. It’s an irony that’s not lost on the singer/guitarist. “I know, right?” she says with a laugh. “What’s hilarious is that in Legendary Divorce, I sang about how solid he and I were.”

It’s worth mentioning that McGinnis (guitar/vocals) DeHart (bass/vocals) and Smith (drums)—were all members of famed Philly sludge trio Fight Amp. “We pulled the plug on Fight Amp because we felt like it had run its course,” McGinnis explains. “We liked the band still and we were all on good terms, but we just didn’t wanna write another Fight Amp record. We wanted to branch out musically.”

Across the 35 minutes, the quartet bleed out ten emotionally fierce tracks, which deliver a loud/quiet/loud canvas for Rosenberg’s lyrics to lay bare the heartbreak and raw nerves of a broken relationship amidst rumbling bass, screeching guitar tones and dynamic drums that together signal the end of the world.

From the opening chords of ‘Low’ through to the cathartic ‘Legendary Divorce’ you can’t help but get swept up in the grungey swirling riffs. The harsh vocal work is the perfect accompaniment and you fall in love with the energy and attitude. Special mentions to the churningly compelling ‘Start Over’ and ‘Away’. Delicious

AD Rating 8/10

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