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The Pitch: Keeping it weird from Austin, Texas, Expander is here from Nuclear War Now! with their special blend of metallic hardcore for a full length debut recorded by Kurt Ballou. “The concept behind the album is that of a shapeless cosmic entity which represents the pinnacle of technological advancement and seeks autonomous control over all atomic matter in the universe.” FFO: Converge, Trap Them, Great American Ghost

What I Like: Expander is first and foremost a hardcore band, but there is a certain black metal ethos that rises to the top like a sickening layer oily sheen.  While you’re not going to hear a lot of it in the riffs, it’s definitely in the snarling, harsh vocals.  We even get a nice Tom G Warrior “Ungh!” on the first track and some Cultes des Ghoules cackling on “War Terminal_ The True Front Line.”  These guys could tour with Taake and Young and In The Way just as easily as Converge or Every Time I Die.  That sounds like an amazing bill.

As for the rest of the music, it’s largely grounded in anarchistic D-beats, buzzsawing basslines, and punky chord progressions not dissimilar from groups like The Armed.  The low end and distortion of the bass guitar really adds character to the music aside from just being dominatingly heavy.  Peep the title track if you don’t believe me.  And while this is a power chord-heavy album, there are also a number of very Ballou-esque, stylistic leads that should sound familiar to Converge fans; drenched in reverb and thickening the atmosphere.

Critiques: The second half of this album isn’t as consistently strong as the first.  “Timezapped” is a standout, but the rest feel a little second rate in comparison.  The energy is still there to keep things going, but they lack the same memorability.

The Verdict: Very enjoyable hardcore music with the reckless abandon of punk along with some of the grim nihilism of black metal.  It’s hard to go wrong with a kurt-approved and recorded album, and Endless Computer is no exception.  Get it this Friday.

Flight’s Fav’s: R-Type 2 Civilization, Endless Computer, Timezapped

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Author:

Flight of Icarus FlightofIcarus is a father, licensed counselor, and full time metalhead. When he is not working and spending time with family, he is writing furiously to promote underground bands on his own site, Metal Trenches. He believes staunchly in writing only constructive reviews, and his favorite bands include Dark Tranquillity, Enslaved, Poison the Well, and Deftones. You can also buy his ebook, The ABC’s of Black Metal.