Absolve Sadistic Crown

"Technical," "European" and "quirky" come to mind when thinking about metal bands from Quebec. With the success of Neuraxis, Blackguard, Beneath the Massacre and even Unexpect, there is a common thread of extreme, challenging music heavily influenced by the European metal scene. That's why it's almost refreshing to listen to Montreal's Absolve, as they have chosen to minimize the Euro-metal sound (but there are still hints of it there ― check out "Burn a Blind Eye") and focus more on a straight-up North American thrash and death metal feel. The problem is, while Sadistic Crown is good, there's a soullessness to it. Drummer Pierre Le Corroller is definitely a double-bass whiz, but the windmills are so fast that they sound programmed. And where is the bass? Vocalist Jeff Linstead is definitely capable, but he's unoriginal in his delivery on this EP, which isn't a deterrent, per se, but it's obvious that these guys can, and will, do better in the future. (Panoptic)