Living Sacrifice The Hammering Process

Forget what some of the cruddier record labels around are peddling as "nu-metal," because this is it right here. At this point, it's kind of easy to judge a book by its cover, and the cover of this one instantly makes you think that it's going to be a modern and progressive metal album, and it is. Although it's not as technical as these bands, one is reminded of the genius of both Coalesce and Meshuggah within minutes, with those off-time beats that somehow catch up to themselves, only to somehow get ahead of themselves again. There isn't much to grab on to or get to know and love here, rather lots of sharp little shards of shiny, splintered metal that will sooner cut your hand than give you a memorable verse or chorus. Hey, works for me, the disc having enough variety on it to keep it at the forefront of my attention for its 40 minutes, which is the perfect length for this sort of thing. It's hard to describe what is happening on this album, it's something both hardcore and metal fans will be able to grasp onto, and the melodic parts and big grooves put any of the phwacky Roadrunner bands to shame. You can tell these guys are serious here, the whole thing dripping with that kind of desperation that only the holier bands seem to have. Don't let that scare off you secular types, though, Living Sacrifice's lyrics are too buried in metaphor and poetics to sound anything like Reason for the Season. A crystal clear production brings it all crashing down, violent and effective. Impressive. (Solid State)