MINI REVIEW FRIDAY #2 (08/02/13)

1. THAT'S OUTRAGEOUS! - Psycho (2012)
   Genre: Post-Hardcore
   Label: inVogue

Balancing between hardcore brutality and electronic pop tunes seems to be a very hard task to accomplish, as it could easily lead to a clunky and disjointed soundtrack. Thankfully, Poughkeepsie group That's Outrageous! is not a victim of this pitfall. They can shapeshift from electrified post-hardcore to the much heavier side of that genre, a technique best showcased in the song "The New York Chainsaw Massacre Pt. 2." The main highlight of the tracklist and a stellar follow-up to the first installment, this, along with most of the other tracks, all construct a great span. Sadly, some of these songs are far too short, having potential to be great full-blown songs that don't really go anywhere or develop. In spite of the shortcomings, however, "Psycho" is an album definitely worth a listen for the pop post-hardcore followers out there. [7/10]

2. LOCRIAN - The Clearing & the Final Epoch (2012)
   Genre: Drone/Doom Metal
   Label: Relapse

The two-disc compilation "The Clearing & the Final Epoch" by drone project Locrian is quite a stellar piece. The first disc, the original "The Clearing" full-length record from 2011, mostly consists of horror-based drone with some touches of black and doom metal thrown into the mix. On the other hand, the second disc contains a few previously unreleased tracks. However, what both realms have in common is that they are both done greatly, with sluggish but ensnaring melodies, effects, and atmosphere. In fact, they actually work off one another quite well. The first disc, as stated earlier, is quite haunting and unsettling, while the other half is a little more experimental and somewhat lighter in tone. It allows for the best of both worlds, as well as the two sides bearing some great ambiance to make the ride more gripping. Not for anyone into more active and fast-paced music, but a stellar piece for the other side nonetheless.  [8.5/10]

3. AS I LAY DYING - An Ocean Between Us (2007)
   Genre: Metalcore
   Label: Metal Blade

"An Ocean Between Us," the fourth full-length installment of melodic metalcore icons As I Lay Dying, is what you would expect from this prolific band: Energetic, ferocious, emotional, and potent metalcore. Every song sort of has their own thing to offer, whether they're on the more melodic side (The Sound of Truth, I Never Wanted) or are more brutal (Within Destruction, Comfort Betrays). This showcases great diversity and dynamic, a consequence of the songs overall being solidly planned out. There is a somewhat theatrical quality to the album's metallic battalion, and the musicianship, from the powerful vocals to the grand guitar and percussion work. Sadly, as well as these tracks are structured, they are very predictable and almost formulaic as a whole. Even though this is a significant issue, this album is nonetheless enjoyable, and is another fine addition to a legendary act's discography. [7.5/10]

4. SLICE THE CAKE - The Man with No Face (2012)
   Genre: Progressive Death Metal/Metalcore
   Label: Unsigned

Slice The Cake, a deadly trio brought out from the United Kingdom, Australia, and Sweden, conjures up some great intrigue with their debut full-length "The Man with No Face." This album combines the technicality and brutality of death metal and deathcore with some orchestral elements to up the drama. This formula alone makes way for an explosive effort, and this album is luckily just that. The tracks, for starters, are very well composed, with so many gripping parts that weave together into coherent songs as opposed to parts of songs thrown together. The dynamic between heavier and quieter parts makes the ride even more engaging. In light of these aspects, highlights that steal the show include the theatrical "Of Gallows" and the highly technical "Equilibrium." Though the songs tend to drag, that doesn't stop this group from being one to keep a close eye on. [8/10]