Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New stuff from WrenchNeck and Caricature


 For a band that taps so many influences, WrenchNeck put together an amazingly cohesive and engaging full-length debut album. The self-titled CD drops this week, drawing some deserved notice for this Greenfield sextet that can swerve through old-school power grooves and rugged, down-tuned turf with equal ease, often in the same song.

Each of the 10 tracks on “WrecnhNeck” sounds like a mini-opera with duel vocal parts divided between gravelly howls and cleaner tones, tiered guitar arrangements, and drumming that swings from hard rock to blast beats. The tunes hold together so well because it sounds like the band is acting in service to a particular song, and not just trying to show off. The apocalypse-summoning “2012,” for instance, begins on a modern, metalcore note but works its way through the dark, churning themes toward an appropriately Sabbath-y midsection before blasting off again.

Even when the band seems to be heading down a predictable path, it can make an attention-grabbing sharp turn. “Quitter," for example, begins as a pretty straightforward rant backed by metalcore muscle, but then the guitars just drive the song in a whole other crazy direction that sparks the tune anew.

WrenchNeck also writes with imagination. The band taps into grim pain on “Demolition” and “FML (Found My Life).” Then there are dark overlord songs such as “2012” and “Coalesence.” And of course a few fuck-you tunes, with “Quitter” and “The Game” fitting into that category.

WrenchNeck has a CD-release show happening Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Greenfield Teen Center, Sanderson Road, Greenfield. The concert starts at 5 p.m. and features Stairwell Sea, The River Neva, and A Fury Divine, in addition to WrechNeck.

The CD will also be available at Sonic Creations in Greenfield, and online via iTunes and Amazon.com

 “The Birth By Sleep EP”

“Divine Unrest” is the final track on Caricature’s 5-song EP and hopefully the road map for this band’s forthcoming full-length. The wending 8-minute “Divine” patiently unfolds, fusing its sonics into one enveloping package of mind-tweaking and bone-rattling dynamics.

Elsewhere, the band formed by Binary Code guitarist Joseph Spiller is solid but more prone to letting the seams show on this multifaceted prog-metal outing. Caricature stretches from clean, pop melodies to jagged hardcore screams, linking the disparate poles with washes of spacey keyboards and jabbing rhythm guitar riffs.  

There is no lack of ideas here. “Monuments,” for instance, has a brutal vocal atop a jazzy keyboard that part for a flashy guitar solo. This stuff is busy and will benefit from the sort of center felt in “Divine Unrest.”

The push-and-pull within the songs keeps things interesting, even as the band seeks a more solid footing for its hydra-head sound. 

“The Birth by Sleep EP” is available for download at www.caricature.bandcamp.com/

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