At the Soundawn


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The second album by this Italian post-metal act is an intriguing mix of unexpected elements. Yes, it's got Isis-esque and Neurosis-ish roar, and soft passages in between. But the group puts a unique enough spin on each of those tropes to make the whole thing worth hearing. Lead vocalist Luca De Stefano has two basic modes: bellow and croon. But when he's yelling, he sounds more like Sick of It All's Lou Koller than Isis' Aaron Turner, and when he's singing, he's like a cross between Mike Patton (particularly when the backdrops get weird, like on "7th Moon," where he's shadowed by a gentle trumpet) and Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria. Shifting functions like a suite, with each song leading into the next without a break, and the interstitial passages of staticky electronics and drones are as important to the overall mood as the loud, heavy parts. On their debut CD, At the Soundawn were still little more than the sum of their influences, but on this album they're developing their own identity, and becoming a band worthy of serious attention.

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