Remember math rock, that briefly popular indie subgenre that basically consisted of former punks taking Robert Fripp's '80s work with King Crimson to its logical, tight-sphinctered conclusion? Well, Figure of Merit sounds like Polvo or Don Caballero after having been force-fed a heavy diet of Scandinavian speed metal and Japanese avant-noise freak-outs. Vatic, a reissue of a brief album released in 2004 in a very small edition, consists of eight tracks that are only nominally distinct from one another: "Arrow to the Sun" is a little slower, for example, and from the snatches of Aaron Zdon's lyrics that are comprehensible, "Parts Broken and Juxtaposed" seems to be some kind of rant against solipsism and/or emo kids. Luckily, the quartet have both the brains and the brawn to put across this combination of artsy intellect and animal aggression. Vatic is by no means an easy listen, but it's not just another post-hardcore blurt of untrammeled noise, either; there's an aesthetic to this brand of difficult listening, for those who care to find it.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason