Black Cross

Widows Bloody Widows

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Members of the National Acrobat are part of this ensemble, and their approach to rock falls in line with the likes of At the Drive-In and Sparta. The brothers Ryan Patterson and Evan Patterson bring "Roll Up Your Sleeves" to a hard-charging start that is relentless in its intensity and general rock smarts. A punk style takes "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" to another level, although rhythm section and singer Rob Pennington's vocals appear to be taken from that of a juiced-up Iron Maiden or some other early-'80s metal band. A brooding nu metal 1"House of Light" doesn't hit the mark though, sounding far too over-the-top with its guitars and faux sense of angst. "A Feast of Snakes" recalls early Rancid as its hard punk nature hints a little at old-time metal à la Motörhead within its 45 seconds. The boogie nature of a few tunes brings out the album's sleeper picks, especially the rowdy "Name Me No One," which sounds like they're begging to get out of a garage studio. They hit all cylinders on the snarling "Black Sheep" that is pure, ragged bliss and energy, or a hardcore version of the Mooney Suzuki mixed with AC/DC's signature guitar riffs. What stands out from the pack is the hard and gritty drumming that starts "The Bean & Those Like Him in New York," which starts slow but builds into a quality punk-meets-rock number. Even on "11:59 Answering the Call" can you see legends like Black Sabbath in their style, especially on the closing verse. One miscue though is the experimental "Peking Dub," a horrid tune that appears to be a Jane's Addiction or Porno for Pyros outtake at the absolute best.

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