Dozer, Burst, In Flames, Chimaira, Tone, Explosions in the Sky, Testament, Lamb of God's, Mastodon, and Mastodon
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Feb. 24, 2006
The Fjord-like echo of Scandinavian screamers sounds positively ancient given today's Drano-gargle index. Sweden's veteran Dozer, Through the Eyes of Heathens (Small Stone), likewise rumbles sandblasted stoner rock of the early Nineties ("Days of Future Past"), Kyuss and grunge diverging from that common point of ancestry. Fellow countrymen Burst erupt hardcore screamo, Linus Jägerskog's punctured lung infinitely more bearable when the fivepiece puts hammer to anvil (2003's Prey on Life) instead of the operatic to Led Zep's folkloric, Origo (Relapse). The mad hornet screech of Anders Friden inflames the straight-razor metal of another seasoned Swedish fortification, In Flames. Like the quintet's recent Back Room stand, the molten sting of Come Clarity (Ferret) can't quite suppress its inner emo, while the accompanying DVD mimes the entire album with a black-and-white, not-very-vérité shoot. The self-titled third LP on Roadrunner from Cleveland's metalcore Chimaira pulls the kick-drum rip chord and goes off like a car bomb. Faint remnants of classic rock haunt the tolling riffs of "Salvation," while Mark Hunter's bleached larynx always manages impeccable enunciation, midline in the mix, not above it. The black box edition adds a bonus disc with slamming live audio from '04's Dehumanizing Process DVD. Mute works for D.C.'s instrumental octet Tone, whose Neurot debut Solidarity soars at similar altitudes as labelmates the Red Sparowes. Speaking of Explosions in the Sky, Austin's metallic cloudburst has quietly levitated a sparkling new 30-minute EP, The Rescue (Temporary Residence), currently hypnotizing only at shows. Testament's Live in London (Spitfire/Eagle Rock), a reunification of the thrash messiahs' classic lineup, roars nostalgic, like a Seventies precursor to nü-millennial pummel, jagged edges blunted by big-hall sonics. The DVD tie-in boasts too many cameras and not enough ideas (kick-drum cam!), but just the right voltage of shredder Alex Skolnick and cancer-free throat Chuck Billy. The audio to Lamb of God's now classic Killadelphia (Epic) excoriates pleasingly modern, yet even the new CD tie-in can't mask the total ass frontman Randy Blythe proved himself on the DVD. Ultimately Lamb gets sacrificed by the Jurassic upheaval of Atlanta's Mastodon, whose new Call of the Mastodon (Relapse) remixes the quartet's initial demos half found on 2001 debut EP Lifeblood then unleashes 'em live, along with nearly every studio cut from the ensuing LPs Remission and Leviathan on related DVD compendium The Workhorse Chronicles. A 45-minute "overview of Mastondonical intention" comes with admissions of "still trying to do vocals," but "Workhorse" live at Hellfest '04 proves noxious vox go with the terrain like lava on Pompeii.