Vincent DeMasi

Borgo Pass
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The Aughties, much like the Eighties, have seen the mainstreaming of heavy metal. While most of today's headbangers are content to layer corrosive guitar noises atop relentlessly robotic rhythms, Borgo Pass have mined the music's fertile past and brought back the elements it seems to have been missing most as of late: melody, dynamics, and blues overtones. Ed Sebastian's operatic tenor cries on "Afterbirth" and "Bellysmack" sound like Facelift-era Layne Stayley, while guitarists Paul Rosado and Tom Crane's unrepentant hammer grooves on "Drunkards Doom" and "Saloon Burn" recall Kyuss' multi-layered muscle. "Beer Garden" and "Second Story" offer a droning eastern-tinged acoustic feel and "Meat Wallet" boasts the most sinister blue-note riffage since Tony Iommi. Powered by Sludge is a full-speed sonic rollercoaster ride that threatens to throw the listener into some pretty dark and jagged corners. It's worth the trip.

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