DRAIN, the Santa Cruz bruisers who gained significant attention during the pandemic with their debut full-length California Cursed, have delivered yet another phenomenal hardcore record with their sophomore album, Living Proof. Building on the success of their debut, this new album showcases the band’s relentless energy while incorporating a few surprising elements that set it apart from its predecessor.
The first half of Living Proof is packed with hardcore ragers, featuring beefy crossover thrash riffing, chug-heavy breakdowns, and Sammy Ciaramitaro’s unmistakable snarl. However, the band isn’t afraid to explore new territories with tracks like “Intermission,” which features rapper SHAKEWELL and seamlessly transitions from a piano/trap beat combo to a hardcore groove.
Additionally, their cover of DESCENDENTS’ “Good Good Things” adds a melodic touch to the album, proving their versatility as musicians.
The theme of perseverance is at the core of Living Proof. With lyrics such as “Pick up all the hate and all the pain / And throw it back into their face” from the title track, DRAIN champions the idea of embracing struggle in the pursuit of self-empowerment. While they’re not the first hardcore band to tackle these themes, they execute them with such conviction and quality that it’s impossible to not get swept up in their passion.
Living Proof is a compact, 25-minute offering that leaves you wanting more.
With sharp production from Taylor Young and mixing by Jon Markson, it’s a thrilling heavy hardcore record that demands multiple listens.
Living Proof is a superb record that showcases DRAIN’s ability to blend classic hardcore elements with surprising twists.
Comprised of Sammy Ciaramitaro, guitarist Cody Chavez, and drummer Tim Flegal, Drain is making waves with their hardcore bounce and crossover thrash sound, acknowledging their growing success with the album’s title.
The San Jose-Santa Cruz scene has had a significant influence on hardcore music, with bands like Scowl, Sunami, and No Right following in Drain’s footsteps. Ciaramitaro is deeply protective of this community, ensuring its legacy remains intact. He believes that experiencing the music live is a crucial part of being a fan, saying for Alt Press Magazine, “You can listen to this music, but if you’re not out at the shows, then you’re cheating yourself of the full experience.”
Check out the new Making of LIVING PROOF video, directed & shot by Matt Welch, edited by Shawn Skadburg:
Drain is a distinct project from Ciaramitaro’s previous band, Gulch, which disbanded in 2022. He attributes Gulch’s end to the overwhelming hype and merch circus that threatened to pull them away from their roots. However, Ciaramitaro has always believed Drain could last, as he has more ownership over the band’s creative aspects.
Living Proof offers a blend of hardcore and metal influences reminiscent of the house shows Ciaramitaro attended growing up.
Produced by Taylor Young, the record features heavy riffs and Ciaramitaro’s honest, raw lyrics that touch on his own self-doubt and anxiety. As Drain continues to chase success, their hardcore for the freaks mantra remains inclusive and aggressive, capturing the essence of the scene they’re proud to be part of.
In their newest featue for Kerrang magazine, Sammy Ciaramitaro spoke passionately about the band’s past, present, and future, as they ride a wave of success after years of hard work.
Despite his linebacker build and occasional grumpiness, Sammy is known as the Nicest Man In Hardcore, always willing to talk to fans and show respect.
He is grateful for the support of fans and remembers the many nights hauling gear offstage through hostile crowds. Sammy’s privileged upbringing allowed him to choose a different path and pursue music, even though most people who find hardcore have had a tough time.
Living Proof reflects the band’s personal experience and the adversity they have overcome. Drain’s success has not been easy, and Sammy and his bandmates have had to make adult decisions on a teenager’s wallet during the pandemic.
With the release of Living Proof on Epitaph, Drain is still focused on moving forward. Sammy believes that the band needs to give back to the hardcore scene by introducing new fans to the genre. Drain is open to playing with different types of bands and wants to play mainstream festivals and late-night talk shows. They want to prove that everyone can achieve their goals, while still staying true to their roots.
For Sammy, Living Proof is not just a testament to what Drain has accomplished, but also a symbol of what they have yet to achieve.
Check out the full feature on Kerrang here.