is impressively mature and exhaustingly rocking. The band's constant shifts in tempo and time signature create volatile composites of destructive noise -- a vehicle for their poignant political commentary.
As the album opens, squalling guitar feedback envelops you like a barbed-wire cage, erupting in bursts of fiery six-string ferocity through which lead screamer David Marion's gut-wrenching screams slice like a rusty but red-hot sword. Marion's howls are largely incoherent, but their energy alone is enough to transmit the band's great discontentment. The lyrics are included in the liner notes in case you want to follow along: "If we stick ourselves with syringes and scrape our lungs with dollar bills, we can forge a roof that will hold us in and keep them out."
"Should Have Stayed In The Shallows"' dueling guitars mirror Marion and lead guitarist Adam Fisher's vocal interplay. It's during these shared vocal stretches that the band is easiest to appreciate; rather than being blown away by the band's energy, which is certainly impressive, you can take a breath and enjoy the way the various pieces fit together. Technical guitar work, ball-busting percussiveness and blood-curdling screams and wails gouge temporary footholds into the music. "A Tyrant Meets His Makers"' melodic Final Fantasyesque synths offer a minute-long respite -- then "The God Awful Truth" arrives, with its high-octane 11-beat phrase verse and multitude of parts. In short, it's a math rocker's wet dream.
The 30-minute Art Damage is just succinct enough to be absorbed in a single sitting, despite its occasionally overwhelming energy. It's so invigorating and cathartic, you'll be ensnared in no time.