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Every tune on Burn Blue Sky's full-length debut sounds like it was penned on a bad day. This band is indebted to the misanthropes of Louisiana's Acid Bath, a group skilled at tempering menace with melancholy. Similarly, Burn Blue Sky's pitch-black boogie pairs southern-rock groove with death-metal growls and lyrics of betrayal and contempt.

Frontman Todd Hough, who alternates a stoned, soulful croon with a gruff bark, is backed by a band that shifts from pretty acoustic interludes and meditative keyboards with biting thrash. Songs tend to be epic in scope, like album centerpiece "What's Real," a haunting dirge that begins with clean guitar and nearly chanted vocals before erupting in a fit of rage. Throw this disc on the next time you're feeling down, and you'll soon realize that things could be a lot worse.

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More by Jason Bracelin

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