Eagle Claw

Poacher

Texas Platters

Eagle Claw

Poacher

Sixty minutes of instrumental surf and turf from this Austin metal quartet flies highest on oceanic opener "Helm" and forest-clearing follow-up "Elephant." Eagle Claw's debut stalks sea and sky and everything between with equal measures of gravity and soar. Prog pretensions go extinct in the sharp-beaked visage of the group's ever-moving flow, while markers of all that came before blend in with the scenery (the ghost of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" midway through centerpiece "Tailwind"). Predatory watcher "Golden Eagle" encases its aerodynamic monitor not in feathers but in Air Force blue. The band's two guitars and Luther Smalls' bass string low sweet metallic chariot. "Panzer" mulches one too many nonfluctuating earth masses, and "Milk" froths too little too late, but Poacher promises as much about Eagle Claw as Conrad Keeley's taloned CD cover kill. Wing and a prayer.

***

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