A fake but also real energy drink, product placements =, a one-shot filmed with a robotic arm, and riding a motherfucking army tank as it crushes cans and cars; it’s all happening in the music video for Dregg’s ‘Evolve.’ So I decided to review said new song and this new drink of theirs together. Why? I don’t know why.
Prior to the Melbourne-based and Epitaph-signed Dregg releasing the well-produced if very familiar-sounding ‘Evolve‘ recently, the group shared they were sponsored by a previously unknown energy drink brand. If you didn’t already know Dregg, their songs, and the values they stand behind in their lyrics, this would’ve looked like one big sell-out move. How did a small Australian band that blends hardcore, rap and thrash net a deal with an energy drink? In the current year no less? Of course, Dregg isn’t actually sponsored by an energy drink. Well, not one that isn’t their own. They created their own brand, making fake social media accounts to promote this faux-but-real-product, EVOLVE ENERGY, to tie in with this new single. ( Not everyone can be Papa Roach and drench every bad album after bad album in Monster Energy fluids.) Honestly, it’s a pretty humourous move and something that’s very on-brand for Dregg.
Some will scoff at Dregg’s roll-out, but when there are few plans and fewer physical spaces to perform at or connect with music in – short of offering live streams beamed right into people’s eyeballs – what do ya do? You take that pent-up creative energy and put it into other aspects of your art. Dregg chose to do something silly but also unique for their latest song/video. Some bands do countdown sites, others nab billboard space, and some do… this. Looking at the video, the tank-crushing-car results speak for themselves. Just like how the song is all about humans adapting, so too is the band’s methodology and approaches in this current ever-changing climate, and I appreciate that.
‘Evolve‘ begins with the fist-swinging metallic hardcore that fans expect, soon switching over to a heads-down riffs-up thrash metal part. Before long, they drop you off outside a loose-lipped hip-hop passage that gives the track some real space. It’s driven by a quick delivery from vocalist Christopher Mackertich that lyrically slams multiple references together – Alexa, Tommy Wiseau, Far Cry and FIFA, Joker and Batman, and even the most insufferable tech-deathcore band around, Rings Of Saturn – into a big stanza about how we’re human beings that make our own choices. This then slowly crescendos into a fast and furious hardcore finale. All things Dregg has done before, to varying degrees of success, but on ‘Evolve‘ it coalesces nicely. Is it a full-blown evolution? No, but it does sound like they’re closer to realising what their music can be moving forward.
Upon the release of ‘Evolve,’ when looking at the coverage from our media peers, other outlets covered the usual press beats and briefly mentioned the drink, but didn’t go any further other than to talk about the song itself. Well, I’m going one step further.
After purchasing not one, but two Evolve Energy Drink cans from Artist First, who actually sent me three (how polite, but I can’t be bought), I waited patiently, excitedly, for these precious energised liquids to arrive. From payment to mail day, many thoughts ran through my lizard brain. Was this a scam? Was it just water in a can? Would they be empty? Did Dregg repackage another high-profile energy drink and pawn it off as their own, like some kind of hardcore music Seymour Skinner but with drinks instead of steamed hams? I was overwhelmed. Finally, the big day came and the cans arrived. And I must say they were at least a little clever in the packaging: “NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION” reads down the side, the calories and energy information is off the wall with figures in the tens of thousands, and the bar-code number uses digits to help spell the band’s name: DR399.
After cooling them in my fridge for a few hours to ensure the proper refreshing experience (sorry, I didn’t have a tank on stand-by, let alone the connections to make that happen), I set out to review the drink through the most scientific method way possible that would also require the least amount of effort and time. Ergo, this meant consuming EVOLE along with a can of V and Red Bull respectively, both bought solely for this, slowly tasting and eventually finishing all three of these drinks one-by-one. As you can guess, my palpitating heart did not think highly of me that day. Nor did my tongue, which seemed to lose more of its finer taste-buds the longer that this unnecessary, hyper-sugary experiment went on.
Based on scent, can-size and dimensions, initial taste, and after-taste, it does seem like Dregg did re-package Red Bull or V, or some other reject-shop energy drink, and threw their own label over the top of it. Whenever I’d take a sip, I could clearly feel where the tin around the top of the cans had been cleaned-off before the band’s own packaging was applied. When getting this research peer-reviewed – i.e. getting my partner to taste all three drinks – it was found that EVOLE had a very suspiciously similar flavour and smell to those other well-known drinks. I’m no consumers affairs expert, I’m just a guy who likes talking about music online, but if that’s so, then Dregg/Artist First/Epitaph may have broken some Australian consumer laws? Something for far savvier people than I to deduce.
Final verdict? Cool song, that was interestingly promoted, with a suspicious knock-off energy drink.