Austerity Program Backsliders and Apostates Will Burn

Relatively sporadic, though always active, Astoria, NY's the Austerity Program forge ahead with their calculated, minimal sludge on their new EP, a short, brutal blast of four songs that fall perfectly within their parameters of expansion and retraction. Singer/guitarist Justin Foley settles right into his sing-speak, normal dude bark, even dipping into a swelling melody in the typically un-named "Song 29." With their trusty drum machine chugging hard, Foley and bassist Thad Calabrese still know how to throw down dynamics, and their enveloping doom-gaze passages flip from experimental atmospherics to staccato thumping ("Song 26"). The trademark chunkiness doesn't stop the three elements from getting tangled tight, merging as they do in the last third of "Song 27" into something that might suffocate you if there was any chance to let go and panic, but they're so composed, so demanding of your undivided attention that it's not likely to happen. Austerity Program never stray far in sound or aesthetic and Backsliders and Apostates Will Burn is no exception, but it's all part of the effortlessly high-brow, cleverly manufactured scope these two smart dudes work within. (Hydra Head)