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This Richmond, Virginia-based trio may be best-known for burly bassist/frontman Michael Bishop, whose previous gig was appearing as Beefcake the Mighty in GWAR. But Kepone shares almost nothing in common with the over-the-top shock-rock of his former band, except possibly an affection for excessive volume levels. On Skin, Bishop and company manage to squeeze more excitement from one repetitive riff than most bands get from an entire set. Their sound taps into a similar post-punk vein as Helmet and The Jesus Lizard, using every ounce of melodic energy in their arsenal to create ballsy, teeth-rattling noise-rock that rides like my old, battered Ford Gran Torino with the 351 hp engine. With frantic tempo changes, pummeling riffs, and shrieking vocals that make Bishop sound like the bastard son of David Yow, Skin is almost overwhelming in its monolithic badness. If you like rock, chances are you'll like this.

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