Sonic Bloom Hurry

Notwithstanding the unfortunate moniker and obvious affinity for early '90s grunge metal (Alice in Chains, Soundgarden), the debut from this Winnipeg quartet - now a quintet with the addition of a second guitarist - is actually one of the most satisfying hard rock albums to come out of this country in some years. Far from the derivative crap Nickelback spews out record after record, and not quite up to the wanky prog-rock of Rush, Sonic Bloom delivers a seven-song mini-album that is fresh and fun at the same time. Injecting the chugging grooves of their Seattle mentors with the creative flare of bands like Dream Theater and Damn the Machine and a self-aware sense of humour, they are but a name change away from breaking through to a much wider audience. (Independent)