Keelhaul Subject to Change Without Notice

Keelhaul Subject to Change Without Notice
Prog-noise potentates, math-rock mavens, whatever the tag: Cleveland’s Keelhaul once again redefine hardcore and reduce the indie-gone-mainstream competition — and their quixotic dreams of stardom — to whimpering milksops. Whetting appetites with their amazing 2002 split seven-inch with Anodyne on Chainsaw Safety, Subject to Change Without Notice is their first long-player since 2001’s inimitable II. Much like Led Zeppelin, who seriously stretched out on 1970’s III, Keelhaul have made similar strides on their third full-length. Bereft of any finger-lickin’ effrontery, the band’s median age of 30 allows straightforward aggro-shredders like openers "The Gooch” and "Cruel Shoes” to obliterate the wasted hubris and braggadocio of kiddie-core bands half their age. Will Scharf’s drumming acuity completely confounds as he caroms through time-signature traffic in "Driver’s Beard” and "Shackleton.” Much like the accomplished acoustic intro then solidly riveting rock of Van Halen’s "Little Guitars,” "Mash the Sandwich” employs spacey textures before ripping into a Helmet-on-speed tech-fest. Remove the band’s usual bombast, however and herein lie the dramatic growth pieces: the quiet chordal reverberations of "HMG,” the hard-rock soloing of "Tits of War” and the Mandible Chatter-ing ethno-ambience of closer "Burlinolinol.” Showing the band’s offbeat sense of humour, the album even includes a nutty voicemail from a spiritual clairvoyant entitled "Two Twinkies Deep.” Since Botch are no longer around, Keelhaul will reign supreme as Subject to Change Without Notice becomes the new keeper of the erstwhile caterwaul. (Hydra Head)