It’s been five years since Philadelphia duo Drones for Queens released anything—a split with Abacus—and seven since their only other full-length, Unwavering Servant, but they’re back in peak form on new album Scraps of Mercy. Recorded from July 2022 to March 2023, the album features drummer Evan Madden (Wild Beyond, ex-Woe, ex-Woods of Ypres) and brother Shane on guitar, bass and vocals.
Drones for Queens haven’t changed their mission statement of playing super-precise grindcore; on Scraps of Mercy, the duo traverse grind, hardcore and death metal. Longer song lengths—relative to genre standards—allow Drones for Queens to feel out more dynamic elements of their sound; “Outlived an Enemy” contains head-bobbing grooves and melodic leads, while “Earth to Be” features some extremely death metal riffs.
“Scraps of Mercy is a culmination of material written primarily from 2018 to 2021,” Shane Madden tells Decibel. “We wanted to expand the boundaries a bit and also maybe add a few tips of the cap to some of our most long-standing, classic influences as well.
“Lyrically, this album is about coming to terms. Songs about everyday punishers, war to come, confronting vices. It is a lament for a society that places no value on human life, allows the tools of war to be used to slaughter children, and welcomes violence. It is a penance for our collective inaction, guilt, and failure to create a better way.
“Maybe we deserve every bad thing that is coming.”
Maybe we do deserve it, but that’s a conversation for another day. For now, listen to Scraps of Mercy below.