The Prophet Feeds

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Excepting rare occasions, recent history dictates that the simple act of being signed by the discerning Southern Lord label earns a band a certain measure of respect; but if Masakari's ferocious debut album, 2010's The Prophet Feeds, is any indication, the Cleveland, OH musicians aren't ones to take any sort of endorsement for granted. Here's a cynically politicized crustcore outfit conversant not only with the speediest metallic riff quotients, but also the impossibly heavy counterpoint provided by snail-paced sludge, which they mix and match to great effect with unexpected melodies (see "XVI Rapid Dominance," "XII Abandoned," "IX Tempt Providence," etc.) throughout the album's sub-half-hour onslaught. Meanwhile, there's also room for traditionally hardcore-inspired d-beat assaults like "XI Nausea" and "VIII Echoes," as well as lengthier exercises in swelling tension such as "XIV the Voiceless" and the album's closing outro, which dispenses with lyrics altogether in exchange for cold, clinical narrations indicting xenophobic prejudice in the American Armed Forces, and the questionable motivations for the second Iraq war. Heavy stuff, in other words, and yet it's with the dog-fighting condemnation heard on "X Pain Conceived as a Tool" that Masakari deliver their most pointedly concise and devastating musical/lyrical statement, crowning this debut's unquestionable promise with exciting possibilities yet to come.

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