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Floodgate's debut, Penalty, offers a slightly more commercial take on Corrosion of Conformity's mid-'90s exploits in Sabbath-style riffery with Southern rock accents. Frontman Kyle Thomas' muscular yet still very melodic delivery provides the extra spark to highlights "Running with Sodden Legs" and "Before the Line Divides"; but he is equally adept at aping a Phil Anselmo-like growl on "Second Guesser" and outstanding single "Through My Days into My Nights." Also of note is an acoustic ballad titled "Whole," where the band revises their entire playbook by meshing melancholy, counterpoint vocal lines to great effect. Occasional plodding filler like "Those Days" and "Imitation Salvation" knocks a few points off the final score, but this is still a solid first effort.

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