That Crain comes from Louisville isn't necessarily immediately obvious; but then again, Steve Albini is the producer, listed under the guise of '80s hip-hop/R&B types Whodini. If anything, the first thing that will leap to mind when opening track "Foot Sanding" kicks in is Helmet because there's the same chunky, fierce brusqueness that characterizes the band's breakthrough Meantime. Soon enough, though, there are enough slower tempos and shifts, not to mention an appreciation of darker textures, to indicate that Crain has its own path to follow. While the member's names -- Jason Hayden, Jon Cook, and Tim Furnish -- are listed in the liner notes, what they exactly do isn't. From the general sound they're likely a power trio in the indie '90s vein, post-hardcore rather than post-Cream. Not quite emo in the original sense -- though the lead singer does let out more than a few unsettling screams -- the three do kick up a righteous din throughout. The varying time signatures, meanwhile, showcase at least a bit of a link to local types like Rodan and more math rock sorts elsewhere. Add in dollops of Helmet as mentioned, plus a generally crisper take on various grunge types from Seattle, and Heater is the result. While Crain wasn't per se a groundbreaker, when the three are on they don't hold back, while Albini's production makes everything sound just right, as is his wont. "The Waste Kings" is a highlight, a massive, brawling epic practically crackling with rage as things calm down just enough to suddenly amp up again. The bright surge of "Bricks" is another winner, while "Hey Cops!" and "Knock Yr Daylights Out" deserve a nod just for the titles alone. An interesting bit of trivia: the art throughout comes from a video, Toy Porno, created by underground legends the Frogs.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett