Boiled in Lead

Antler Dance

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To say that Antler Dance is the most eclectic Boiled in Lead album ever made is no small statement -- after all, this is a band that plays just about everything. Nevertheless, Antler Dance is both the most successful and wide-ranging album by this determinedly experimental group. New guitarist and lead singer Adam Stemple made an immediate mark, his instrumental and vocal style pulling the band toward a harder rocking sound. This expanded rather than diminished the group's range, since the take-no-prisoners approach is applied to Serbian dance tunes, Irish ballads, original folk numbers, and bizarre covers. In lesser hands, this would have been an overamped and artificial hash, but Boiled in Lead leaps into this album with an energy and vigor that carries all before it. This is not to say there are no light moments -- the delicate instrumental "Drowning" has lovely violin and dulcimer work, and is a highlight of the band's acoustic sets. Listing the highlights of this album is difficult because there are so many -- the explosive metamorphosis of "Sugarfoot Congress" from sprightly folk instrumental to crunching metal workout, Stemple's bluesy growl on "Bring It Round"," the sheer surrealism of the band's cover of "Rasputin." Suffice it to say that Antler Dance is the must-have album by Boiled in Lead, the one where great material and extraordinary performances came together perfectly. Note: Leave that CD on after the final crunching chords of "State Trooper" have died away. There's a hidden track, a strange and carnivalesque klezmer piece, and it's worth waiting for.

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