FORGIVEN RIVAL: This Is a War: CD

The packaging to this one gave me some high hopes—visuals reminiscent of Jacob Bannon’s occasional dirty, ominous work with photographs. I figured I’d be in for some dark, epic hardcore, verging on crust at times. I was not expecting the blast of overproduced nü-metal that greeted me, fat with autotuning, chugga chugga riffs, and mincing piano. One second it’s so saccharine sweet it sounds like these dudes are auditioning to be the house band at a Disneyworld breakfast buffet, then it’ll suddenly sound like Monster Magnet and Buzzov-en sniffing each other’s asses with angry Cookie Monster guy pouting above the din. Technically proficient, way too glossy, and pretty much a horrible mess; this is apparently what constitutes hard rock these days.

 –keith (Indianola)