For a band that sounds so primal — think the raw urgency of the Deftones, the sloppy swagger of Queens of the Stone Age and the commercial sensibility of the Foo Fighters — it's hard to believe that the debut EP from the Brooklyn trio Dogs of Winter evolved from sparse compositions sketched out using only five fingers and a piano. But that's exactly how Cut Down to the Quick, a dark collection of songs about doomed and abusive relationships, began. Vocalist and guitarist Brian Gosz wrote this material while heavily medicated and recovering from a broken hand. His pain strains through the music, piercing listeners with the sounds of both despair and violence.
The EP opens with the compulsively listenable modern-metal scorcher "Spurs" before flirting ever so briefly with hardcore screams on "Hard to Let Go." "Natasha" is a booze-filled plea, and "Thumbscrews" slams with addictive aggression despite its soft verse/loud chorus formula. The crashing finale, "Three Body Problem," serves as Cut Down to the Quick's heaviest track and portends the sonic direction Dogs of Winter might take next time. This record should feel right at home on modern-rock/metal radio. What the hell are the major labels waiting for?
2) Hard to Let Go
5) Three Body Problem