The interlude since the release of Engine Down's last record, 2002's gorgeously blistering Demure, has been eventful, to say the least. In the last two years, the group has signed to mega-indie Lookout! Records, hit the road with huge bands such as Thursday and Sparta, and seen its side project, Denali, become super-popular and then abruptly break up. Just a short time ago, on a swing through Houston, all of the band's equipment was stolen from the parking lot of their motel.
Luckily, the Virginia quartet has something to take its mind off the tumult of recent months: the unveiling of its self-titled fourth album, a stunning maturation of Engine Down's melodic post-hardcore formula. Like the gusts of an impending thunderstorm, the disc churns and rumbles with a moody disquiet, struggling for breath amid black swells of minor-key atmosphere and startlingly spiraled chord progressions. As adverse as life has been for the group lately, all the ups and downs have obviously honed the band's depth, substance, and ability to write some majestically kick-ass songs.
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