Article By: Leanne Ridgeway
Rooted from Easthampton, Massachusetts in 2007, PROBLEM WITH DRAGONS execute heavily fuzzed-out, unrestricted music. A meaty stew compiled of equal parts Stoner Metal, Sludge, Punk, Doom, Grunge, and Heavy Metal, with a heavy dash of Prog Rock.
Their debut EP release ‘Atomics‘ arrived in 2012, followed by the 2015 full-length ‘Starquake‘, and with the recent sophomore album ‘Ascendant‘, the band creates discordant noises, turbulent riffs, and oscillating rhythms. It really shouldn’t work at all… yet it forgoes confusion and entwines to a uniquely rich, atmospheric tapestry, as PROBLEM WITH DRAGONS enforces a sound full of conviction and style.
I’ve had a chance to witness the blistering cacophony that is PWD a couple of times. My first was back in 2016, for RPM Fest – in addition to performing on stage that year (at the time as guitarist and vocalist), Rob Ives has also managed the festival sound for the past few years. There may have been a sword fight and/or a cyclone pit that weekend, but I vividly recall buying a silver bracelet of mini meat cleavers from a festival vendor. Suffice to say, I was overwhelmed by the entire weekend. Lotta blinding sun. Lotta pool noodles launched. Lotta loud fun.
Then there was a particularly stunning winter evening in early 2017, when I trekked down to Brooklyn, NY, just to have PROBLEM WITH DRAGONS sonically bash my face in before I (somehow) remained standing to also see Kings Destroy and Truckfighters annihilate every person in the club.
In the nearly three years since, PROBLEM WITH DRAGONS had been recording the ten songs found on ‘Ascendant‘, which was released in late August of 2019. With much sadness to all who knew him, founding member and bassist Joe Magrone passed away suddenly in May 2019. He continues to live on in the band’s recordings, and the band has dedicated the album ‘Ascendant‘ to his honor.
The lineup has been reworked, by more than just membership. Formerly on guitar, today Rob Ives is on drums and continues as primary vocalist (he’s also the drummer for Curse The Son), with Ben Licata now on bass and Joe Nickerson (also of Lich King) taking over on guitar. You can check out the full ‘Ascendant‘ album streaming below on Bandcamp or Spotify, plus find out all their tour info…
01. The Omicron
02. Moon Ritual
03. The Reptilian Eye
04. Too Terrified
05. Comply or Ignore
06. The Ascendant
08. Here’s Condemnation
09. Apocalypse of Baruch
10. Faults De Massif
‘Ascendant‘ is available in physical format as a limited vinyl pressing or CD, as well as digital download and streaming on most major outlets. Find a copy for yourself here:
In support of their ‘Ascendant‘ album, Problem With Dragons is heading out this weekend on a month-long U.S. tour. Starting in their Western Mass. hometown on Saturday, February 1st, the band then departs for a 20 day run across the country and finishes up February 23rd in Nashville, Tennessee. Hitting dates with the likes of Astral Cult, Burn Thee Insects, and mighty sludge mongers -16-, it’s bound to be a wretched sonic free-for-all! All dates and details are available below.
PROBLEM WITH DRAGONS:
– Winter 2020 U.S. Tour –
Feb. 01: Easthampton, MA @ Flywheel Arts Collective – DOOMSMAS II (w/ Black Pyramid, Benthic Realm, Curse The Son)
Feb. 03: Louisville, KY @ Highlands Tap Room (w/ Omen Stones)
Feb. 04: Memphis, TN @ Growlers (w/ Admiral Longtooth, Fate Hates Me)
Feb. 05: Fort Worth, TX @ Lola’s (w/ Caballo Oscuro, Sonar Lights, Black On High)
Feb. 06: Albuquerque, NM @ Moonlight Lounge (w/ Sword Horse, Weedrat, Death’s Emissary)
Feb. 07 – Las Vegas, NV @ Double Down Saloon
Feb. 08: San Diego, CA @ Til Two Club (w/ -(16)-, Hellway Patrol, Plunger)
Feb. 09: Los Angeles, CA @ Redwood Bar (w/ Starburner, Rowsdower, Bummed Out)
Feb. 10: West Hollywood, CA @ Rainbow Bar & Grill
Feb. 11: Oakland, CA @ Golden Bull (w/ Hoodslam, Mournful Cries, Supernaut)
Feb. 12: Medford, OR @ Johnny B’s (w/ Templet, Fog Eater)
Feb. 13: Seattle, WA @ Funhouse (w/ The Cleanse, DarkMysticWoods, GasMule)
Feb. 14: Portland, OR @ High Water Mark (w/ Ethereal Sea, Robots of the Ancient World, Wet Temple)
Feb. 15: Eugene, OR @ Luckey’s Club (w/ Red Cloud, Cosmic Waste)
Feb. 16: Sacramento, CA @ Cafe Colonial (w/ Killer Couture, Astral Cult)
Feb. 17: Sonora, CA @ The Game Room
Feb. 18: Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room (w/ Burn Thee Insects, Earthwalker, Oblitheron)
Feb. 19: Bisbee, AZ @ The Quarry (w/ Burn Thee Insects, Manguera, Heavy Hangs The Heart)
Feb. 21: Austin, TX @ Hole In The Wall (w/ Abject Terror, Mortales, Non-Conformist)
Feb. 22: Metairie, LA @ Babylon Bar
Feb. 23: Nashville, TN @ Springwater Supper Club (w/ Hooch Head, Spectral Evidence, Non-Conformist)