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All Those Wrists

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Album Review

Having the type of vocal style that hardcore and metalcore bands are known for — that is, tortured screaming — does not necessarily mean that a band is playing either traditional hardcore or traditional metalcore (or even screamo). Romans' debut album, All Those Wrists, is a prime example. All of frontman Tom Kelly's lead vocals are in the screaming style of hardcore and metalcore; All Those Wrists, which was self-released in 2007 and re-released by Black Market/Metal Blade in 2008, doesn't have any of the extreme vocals/clean vocals contrast that one gets with screamo. But musically, this 23-minute CD is neither straight-ahead hardcore nor straight-ahead metalcore. Instead, Romans favor a clobbering mixture of hardcore, noise rock, and math rock; this Burlington, VT-based combo has the technical approach that one expects from math rock as well as the noisy distortion of noise rock. All Those Wrists never fails to be abrasive, although Romans' harshness comes at different speeds. Some parts of the album pummel the listener at fast tempos, while other parts slow things down and manage to be moody and vicious at the same time. This disc isn't terribly consistent; some of the tracks are more successful than others. But hardcore, noise rock, and math rock are an attractive combination — at least if one has a taste for head-kicking sensory assault — and there are enough worthwhile moments on All Those Wrists to make the listener want to keep an eye on Romans and see what will be offered on future releases.

All Those Wrists, Romans
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