Premonitions of War

Left in Kowloon

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Premonitions of War's second full-length album (and first for the respected Victory label) finds the band continuing to refine its relentlessly dark and heavy attack, with impressive results. It's easy to think that the metalcore scene has taken fast-loud-dark-heavy as far as it can go before the sound dissolves into chaotic noise, but Premonitions of War prove that the music can still get a little faster, a little more aggressive, a little angrier, and a little more dense. What's impressive about their sound is the way it communicates all the heaviness of death metal without sounding sludgy or ungainly; on songs like "Black Den" and the frankly unbelievable "Stolen Breath," the tempo and rhythm changes are executed with impressive agility and precision. They do undermine themselves just a little bit with the played-out Cookie Monster voice thing, and it's a little hard not to giggle at the fact that one of the songs on the album is called, quite aptly, "One Constant Volume." But overall this is a very impressive effort from one of heavy music's more skillful bands.

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