Bushwhack

Canvas

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    3
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New Haven, CT prog metalers Bushwhack abandoned their instrumental ways on their second release, 2009's Canvas EP, but one almost wishes they hadn't, in light of the merely competent abilities displayed by drummer Ben Shanbrom in his new augmented role. Never mind the meager historical precedents equating singing drummers with chart-topping musical careers, nor the comparative leniency accorded muso-oriented bands by their open-minded audiences; the fact is Shanbrom's efforts ultimately distract and even cast an unwanted spotlight on the similarly underwhelming songwriting supporting it. Both opener "Stonewall" and its follow-up, "Morning," come across as valiant but subpar derivations of Porcupine Tree's commercially accessible prog style, while the significantly heavier "Flawed" treads dangerously close to rank nu metal (its title says it all), before the closing "Clubbed to Death" ends things on a high note with the set's best execution and most intriguing ideas yet. Unfortunately for Bushwhack's future prospects, this last song marks a return to instrumental status and was written by someone else! Having said all this, there's still clearly too much individual talent here for anyone to give up hope just yet, and perhaps a little more experience is all that Bushwhack needs to surprise and impress detractors next time out.