The Casket Lottery

Q&A: The Casket Lottery’s unsung reunion yields louder, denser indie-rock gem

The Casket Lottery: Real FearThe Casket Lottery: Real Fear (No Sleep, 11/6/12)

“In the Branches”

The Casket Lottery: “In the Branches”

Following a four-year hiatus from 2006–2010, Kansas City’s The Casket Lottery was reanimated by front-man Nathan Ellis and expanded from its power-trio core to a quintet. The two new members gave the melodic post-hardcore band an even greater musical arsenal, as shown on Real Fear — its first studio LP in 10 years — which continues its legacy as one of the most underrated groups in “indie music.”

The Casket Lottery

Review: The Casket Lottery’s Real Fear

The Casket Lottery: Real FearThe Casket Lottery: Real Fear (No Sleep, 11/6/12)

“In the Branches”

The Casket Lottery: “In the Branches”

After a five-year run as a full-time band from 1998 to 2003, Kansas City indie-rock trio The Casket Lottery was able to look back on three standout full-lengths and a handful of EPs. Come 2006, the perpetually underrated band had adopted the same attitude as fellow Kansas City notable Coalesce — which shares The Casket Lottery’s Nathan Ellis and Nathan Richardson — by lying low and working on other projects, but never officially breaking up. Flash forward to 2012 and The Casket Lottery has magically reappeared with two more members — Brent Windler on second guitar and Nick Siegel on keys — and a new full-length album, Real Fear.

Dying Fetus

Review: Dying Fetus’ Reign Supreme

Dying Fetus: Reign SupremeDying Fetus: Reign Supreme (Relapse, 6/19/12)

“Subjected to a Beating”

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This, the seventh full-length from Maryland’s Dying Fetus, has the distinction of being the death-metal outfit’s first album to have the same lineup as its predecessor since its debut, Purification Through Violence, was released in 1996. Despite the many member shifts, however, Dying Fetus’ style hasn’t changed much. The band’s signature mixture of technicality, speed, and groove has spawned countless imitators and definitely helped — for better or worse — the invention of metalcore.

This Month In Metal: Ion Dissonance, Cephalic Carnage, ex-Animosity

Listening to all of this insane music is making my summer even hotter, but it’s good practice, because eventually, Hell awaits!

Ion Dissonance: Cursed (Century Media)

Did you love Calculating Infinity? ADD got you down? Not nearly enough riffs on the last three albums you bought, combined? This Month In Metal is pleased to introduce you to Ion Dissonance‘s Cursed. With a heavy hardcore slant in both attitude and execution, Cursed whips right along, tosses you every which way, and then runs you down when you try to get your bearings. Trim off the last track’s eight minutes of weird alien noises and insane-dude rambling and you have a 40-minute scorcher that’s suitable for slam-dancing of all varieties.

Ion Dissonance: “You People Are Messed Up”
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This Month In Metal: Decrepit Birth, Aeon, Cardiac Arrest

Hail! This being my first column for ALARM Press, I thought I’d dip into some overlooked summer releases to get the blood flowing.

Decrepit Birth: Polarity (Nuclear Blast)

First up is the third album from California’s Decrepit Birth, Polarity. This album is a great example of the band’s name and the album’s title bringing to mind two completely different things. “Decrepit birth” sounds like a schlock-y gore-grind band, while “polarity” suggests spaced-out, progressive rock. Truth be told, it’s a bit of both.

Like Necrophagist before it, Decrepit Birth sticks to the old-school, growled, and slightly raspy styles of vocals in addition to its very complex, other-worldly music. This tactic is employed as a foundation: it doesn’t matter what Bill Robinson is growling about; it just matters that he does it consistently and with enough force to keep the album grounded throughout. With that being said, Robinson chooses his phrasing and placement of vocals well, allowing plenty of time for the rest of the band to do its thing, which really begins a minute and a half into Polarity, when there’s a Spanish-influenced guitar break out of nowhere.