The DRX began as one man with a dusty yellowed keyboard, a pile of staff paper, and an ambitious vision. New York musician Dan Romans has channeled his compositional prowess through the DRX since 2008. Principally a drum set player, Romans also acts as singer, composer/arranger, and lyricist of the DRX. His rhythmic sense, methodical writing style, and diverse musicality produce an unmatched sound that is performed by the DRX with technical precision and emotive candor.
Romans’ compositions are intense, extremely focused on song form, and charged with despondent tone and catharsis. Dynamics and tension are expertly employed to shape unique songs that traverse haunting and intimate passages, riveting polyrhythmic full-band riffs, brutal breakdowns, and heart-crushing, anthemic cadences. DRX songs are marked by recurring motifs, engaging feel, clever structure, and compelling hooks that engross the mind and entice repetition. The poignant lyrical themes of the music relate emotional suffering, social injustice, and salvific rumination. The sonic aura of the DRX is created by voice, guitar, bass, drum set, and additional instrumentation including: horns, woodwinds, strings, choir, and synthesized drones and sonics.
Although the DRX performs infrequently, the band has been active since 2009. The transforming line-up of excellent contributing musicians includes members of: Beauchene Skulls, Blank Paper, Buke & Gase, East of the Wall, El Drugstore, Gruesome 2sum, Hazel-Rah, Jerseyband, Kayo Dot, Northern Water Snake, Emily Peal, The Riot Oak, and Stern.
The DRX has released the eclectic, high-energy debut: Thesis (2009) – mastered by Zach Lipkins; the heavy, devastating EP: The Deepening Hole (2011, Nefarious Industries) – recorded by Jon Grabowski and Colin Marston, mixed and mastered by Colin Marston; and the truly epic concept album: Throughout Within (2016, Nefarious Industries) – recorded by Tyler Hartman and Jon Grabowksi, mastered by Carl Saff.
Press for Throughout Within:
“The DRX mixes harsh, metal-influenced vocals with proggy compositions and an array of hard left turns on the politically-charged song. We get electronics, thundering hardcore, noisy post-punk, horns, choral arrangements, a huge range of sounds.” – NOV 2016 – BooklynVegan – Rob Sperry-Fromm
“There are times when a band decides to take their music into the world of “experimental.” This term often means using incredibly odd sounds and musical passages that have nothing to do with each other and have been thrown together for the sake of being “weird.” Fortunately, The DRX and their album Throughout Within is on the other end of the experimental spectrum, taking a swath of different genres and putting them in a way to not only challenge the listener’s preconceived notions of what music can become, but having it all make sense.” – NOV 2016 – Echoing Magazine – R.G.B. Robb
“[the DRX is] a revolving cast of musicians with Romans at the center of it, creating a stylistically diverse and complex set of art rock that leans toward metal while taking cues from prog. It’s ambitious, heroic stuff.” – DEC 2016 – Treble
“Composer and multi-instrumentalist Dan Romans finds himself among a revolving collective of musicians from the likes of Psalm Zero, Kayo Dot, and others under his flagship outlet The DRX, which, as you could imagine given its pedigree and the company it keeps, is a bizarre and ethereal project that is equally beautiful and thought provoking as it is obtuse and hideous. Through dense tracks packed with earthy guitars, mournful synths, and live orchestrations featuring an array of horns and strings, Romans explores a musical conceptual space occupied by the best of avant-garde rock past and present, from Mr. Bungle to contemporaries Kayo Dot, on latest offering Throughout Within.
Romans is a fascinating musician, wailing and growling across Throughout Within‘s nine sprawling tracks that contribute to the overall atmosphere of esoteric whimsy and incongruous tone: somber timbers clash against uplifting major key swells in heartfelt choruses; trumpets blare out through sludgy dirges; playful keys bounce around in morose wonder. Throughout Within is an oddity for sure, but it has the emotional depth and substance back it up.” – DEC 2016 – Heavy Blog Is Heavy – Jimmy Rowe
– DEC 2016 – Angry Metal Guy – Eldritch Elitist
“Throughout Within weaves progressive metal, modern chamber music, and an odd but effective pop sensibility into an ambitious and unpredictable journey.” – DEC 2016 – Sweet Bread Productions
“…it should come as no surprise that [the DRX] continually exceeds the boundaries of standard rock instrumentation to include woodwinds, strings, and choirs. Nor should it come as a surprise, after listening to ‘Throughout Within’ in full, that it was crafted using members of Kayo Dot, Psalm Zero, and Stern. The New York scene from which the DRX has arisen is as incestuous as it is exciting—and the elements that were birthed there are perhaps nowhere as focused as through the eyes of Romans.” – JAN 2017 – Toilet Ov Hell – Richter
“…It drops the heavy end of the hammer on the listener right away with the kind of massive, brutal yet beautiful soundscape this band deserves to be known for. Guttural growls, crooning male and female vocals, sax, synths, and crushing guitars all weave together in service to the emotion of the song[s].” – JAN 2017 – Indy Metal Vault – Alex Makuch
“The DRX is a musical project lead by Dan Romans. For quite a while, this musician has been part of the underground New York music scene and his compositional project The DRX has relied heavily on the collaboration of members of other groups such as: Kayo Dot, Buke & Gase, and Psalm Zero. The DRX is composed of avant-garde rock/metal where classical music is unceasingly intertwined with Black and Death Metal. It’s an overarching framework that happens relatively organically, metal being so closely aligned with orchestral music.
On Throughout Within, Romans give us several epic songs on which he sings with an emotional fragility that is clear and lucid. One hears a panoply of instruments traditionally reserved for orchestras: clarinet, flugelhorn, and cello, among others. These instruments are not present simply to support the basic framework of the songs but rather they play an active role in the construction of the songs.
A good example is the song “The End of Avoiding Consequence”. The electric guitar and the saxophones are equally present in the underlying sound of the refrain. This creates a strong and solid base for the chorus that make the whole explode with the soaring, fragmented …interspersed with Romans’ voice. The vocal parts seem suddenly more solitary and increasingly vulnerable. It is very well done. “Monsters Wearing Nice Ties”, the first track, opens with a simple guitar, some synthesizers and the singer’s voice. The overall effect is very beautiful and ends in an orgy of sound where the instruments multiply and lead to a climactic chorus.
At times, the basic framework of The DRX has the same impact as Catholic hymns sung in the course of the mass. They are powerful, lively, and rousing, while conjuring up the mystical. On the other hand, one also finds unequivocal brutality on tracks such as “Ancient Lie” with its guttural screaming chants. This theme is reiterated on the magnificent “Eyes of Myself” which possesses a very successful saxophone melody. Most of the songs exceed the five minute mark, another uncommon trait.
The DRX is successful with its idiosyncratic and distinctive, but significant and substantial Throughout Within. The adventurous metal fan will find an interesting album that flirts with the codes of baroque music as in Death and Black Metal. These tracks demand a certain open mindedness and commitment, but it is well worth the effort.” – FEB 2017 – Le Canal Auditif – Louis-Philippe Labrèche
– FEB 2017 – Interview on WSUM 91.7 FM: Manifold Curiosity with Grant Phipps
Reviews for The Deepening Hole:
“It has to be said that there are very few albums or EP’s that come to the listener as a genuine surprise in that they display that essence of originality.” – JAN 2012 – Alternative Matter – John
“It says something about the DRX that the mellowest song on their album is a track about a dude disemboweling himself on stage and pulling his own guts out in a performance that would have made Sid Vicious cry a single tear of joy. This is a band that has a dude ripping open his chest cavity on the CD jacket. This isn’t a band that fucks around or pulls any punches.
The Deepening Hole is a three-song EP from the DRX, an Experimental Prog-Metal band that mixes heavy guitar riffs with badass synth and horn solos to build a dark, haunting sound that resembles a mix between straight-up avant-garde Metal and that early-90s Nine Inch Nails stuff where Trent Reznor whispered into the microphone and made an entire generation of depressed teenagers want to jump off a building (back when he still did awesome shit and wasn’t writing Doom music or winning Academy Awards). Their songs are aggressive without being overwhelming, sincere and emotional without being lame, and catchy without being fucking annoying – a difficult mix, but one they’ve nailed in this album.
The EP (released by Nefarious Industries) starts with Love Has Lost the Meaning It Once Had, which sets the pace by kicking you in the teeth with a wall of sound, then tempering it off with interludes featuring drums, trombone, complicated time signature changes, and a dude shredding the synth in an insane over-the-top solo aimed at melting faces.
Love Has Lost the Meaning flows straight into the title track, The Deepening Hole, which is the most low-key tune on the album insomuch as any song about publicly dismembering yourself with a knife and pulling out your entrails on stage can be considered “low-key”. It’s a haunting, melodic song with strong synth and melodica backup that is somehow raw and polished at the same time.
The final song, Episode V (which, as far as I can tell, has very little to do with Boba Fett, the Ice Planet Hoth, or The Empire Strikes Back in general, though I could be mistaken about this) is a good mix between the previous two songs – it immediately kicks up the pace with a driving drum track, heavy guitars, an electric cello (awesome) and badass metal vocals, yet it somehow blasts your hair to the back of the auditorium while still maintaining the creepy darkness of the previous song.
Despite only having three tracks, The Deepening Hole fits together so well that it can pretty much be listened to as three movements to an epic song. It absolutely leaves you wanting more.” – DEC 2011 – Ben Thompson (Badass of the Week)
“It grows on you slowly but surely, and shows the kind of naked honesty that requires serious guts to perform.” – OCT 2011 – Avant-Garde Metal – Suleiman
Don Pedro’s – Brooklyn NY
w/ Smother Party, Epistasis, My Mountain
The Charleston – Brooklyn NY
w/ Radiation Blackbody, Pigeon, My Mountain
Tuscan Cafe – Warwick NY
w/ Pigeon, Waldo, HeadcAke
The Zoo – New Brunswick NJ
w/ Old Wounds, In Musth, Ugly Parts
House Show – Warwick NY
w/ Pigeon, A Fucking Elephant, Dead Channels, The Flops, So is the Tongue, Young Lungs
The Loft – New Brunswick NJ
w/ So is the Tongue, A Fucking Elephant, Lady in the Radiator
Sound Station – Westfield NJ
w/ So is the Tongue, El Drugstore, A Fucking Elephant
The Bikery – Philadelphia PA
w/ So is the Tongue, A Fucking Elephant, HIRS, Gun Muffs
*the DRX did not play – show got shut down before our set!
The Loft – New Brunswick NJ
w/ Mothguts, So is the Tongue, Torrential Downpour
Lulu’s – Brooklyn NY
w/ Lost Coves, Hazel-Rah, Bangladeafy
The Space – Hamden CT
w/ Quite the Architect, Follow Your Hero, Glass House, Take One Car, Reaching Moon
P.A.’s Lounge – Somerville MA
w/ VYGR, Asyna Asayn, Empty Vessels
Heady Fest 5 – Otego NY
w/ Consider the Source, Document, Diazepam…