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Neck of the Woods: The Passenger

Every week, new releases promise the heaviest, the most extreme, and the boldest music out there. At times, I wonder how many of these fall on deaf ears. How can everybody be biggest and the best, the most authentic and the most unique? Making it harder are the fans that cling to their favorite styles and refuse to let other bands enter the fray. And yet, even if the market is sometimes crowded and listeners are sometimes stubborn, there are bands that deserve some attention. Neck of the Woods is one of those bands. The nice thing about this band is that they generally let the music speak for itself. Bravado gives way to performance and songwriting. Here's a band that draws on a wide variety of influences, Opeth, Misery Signals, Rush, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Converge. So what kind of band is Neck of the Woods? It's almost impossible to say. I'd call it something like progressive hardcore black metal, but I know that really won't work. Let's just say this album is heavy and interesting and dense. It's biggest strength comes from Dave Carr and Travis Hein's twin guitar attack. There are times—I'm thinking of tracks like "Nailbiter" and "White Coats" specifically—when the guitars give Neck of the Woods that extra edge in terms of sound and style. Carr and Hein are consistently tight and melodic and solid. There are two interlude tracks, "Open Water" and "Drift" that show off how good these two sound together even when doing something fairly mellow and quiet. Some will find these short interludes unnecessary but I enjoyed both of them.

Aside from Carr and Hein, the band also has Jeff Radomsky (vocals), Jordan Kemp (bass) and Jeremy Gilmartin (drums). Each of them contributes positively to the band's incredible energy and drive. Radomsky's vocals are shouted more than growled but they always sound good. Kemp and Gilmartin also stand out for their power. Check out the aforementioned "White Coats" for some especially slick bass playing. Even though I'm not sure which fanbase will embrace this one, there's plenty to enjoy here. Neck of the Woods is a band to watch. I recommend several tracks on this one: "Foothills" showcases the band's eclectic and hybrid style pretty well. I also really enjoyed "White Coats" and "You'll Always Look the Same to Me."

Track Listing:
1. Bottom Feeder
2. Nailbiter
3. White Coats
4. Open Water
5. You'll Always Look the Same to Me
6. Face of the Villain
7. Drift
8. Foothills
9. Before I Rest

Added: October 28th 2017
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 750
Language: english

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