Lions of Tsavo
Traverser (Toxic Assets)
Reviewed by Michael Toland, Fri., Feb. 14, 2014
Making abrasion accessible ain't easy, but Lions of Tsavo count many arrows in their quiver. The Austin trio gives equal time to doom-mongering sludge, prog-kissed post-rock, blackened thrash, and steel-jacketed noisecore on its fourth full-length, shot through with riffs that owe as much to the clangor of an auto factory as to classic metal. Atmospheric arpeggios lead into unsettling riffs and feral vocals on "Traverser of Guriin," before launching into vein-popping thrash and a hair-whipping death pound. Chugging anthemics share quarters with crusty doom in "Tunnel Giant," while nascent tunefulness fights for space in the dusty cloud pervading "Circuital." "Berlahars" soars except when it slogs, keeping one fist raised to the heavens and the other clutching mud, and "Permafrost" dives into a death/doom groove, suffused by smoky melodics and a Neurosis crash. Balancing chaos and order despite what sounds like no-budget production, Traverser revels in dissonant beauty.