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White Mice 

Blassstphlegmeice (Load)

It's been two years since Providence, Rhode Island's White Mice donned their mouse ears (literally) and issued a full-length. But make no mistake -- the trio does have something fans dig besides those fuzzy costumes: skull-splitting sludge, boasting mammoth bass, an oscillator instead of a guitar, and a double-kick overload that's as indulgent as any damaged head could hope for.

Sophomore albums often try for greater fidelity, which is usually a mistake when dealing with freak-rock, but for once it's appropriate. Crunchy, cookie-monster thrash can't have any badass to balance its laughable moments, if its production is merely tinny. And that's really the trick White Mice pull off: combining goofy, heavy metal dramatics (and yeah, metal's always goofy) and truly brutal aggro-grind. Each song on Blassstphlegmeice is a slightly different experiment in genre update. One moment may recall the operatic overload of Dio, another the grim industrial moves of Godflesh. Little experiments like these are small-time but fun. And they're certainly appropriate for a band that dresses up like mangled lab rats.

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