The arrival of a new Agoraphobic Nosebleed album was once cause for much chortling, since the song titles were hilarious and the songs themselves were frequently so short, you barely had time to finish laughing at the title before the track was over. No more. On Agorapocalypse, the band has reinvented itself as a savage industrial-metal machine, with multiple vocalists (including the group's first female member, the single-named Kat) shrieking and roaring atop a blaze of thrashy riffs and relentless drum-machine barrages. The songs have gotten much longer; where they once averaged five to 30 seconds, now tracks like "White on White Crime" and "First National Stem Cell and Clone" are passing the three-minute mark with ease, incorporating the usual Nosebleed trademarks of hilariously apt dialogue samples and vicious guitars, while bringing new tricks to bear — notably, choruses and dynamic shifts. Oh, and guitar solos — and surprisingly interesting, whammy-bar-abusing ones at that. Whether fans of Nosebleed's earlier, funnier work will be happy about these developments remains to be seen. — Phil Freeman
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