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The Schematic

The Schematic

A metal band from New Castle, Pennsylvania, Coinmonster might as well be based in Ohio -- the trio regularly plays shows in Northeast Ohio and is managed by a firm from Columbus. The band will be celebrating the release of The Schematic, its fifth CD, locally with a show at the Grog Shop. Recorded at Mud Hut Studios in western Pennsylvania, The Schematic showcases the band's maturity. Unwilling to follow the now-familiar pattern of mixing hip-hop beats with heavy guitars, Coinmonster opts for something more melodic and experimental.

"Amateur Smut Writer," the opening number, begins with a thick bass riff (courtesy of new bassist Rick Stoner) and segues into a driving rock song that goes through a series of complex time changes and vocal harmonies, but is continually propelled by guitarist Jon Jon Reider's gruff vocals. While Reider's wailing sometimes sounds generic, and lyrics about "challenging the world" ("Workshop") and coming home to a nurturing woman ("Sarah's Smile") smack of naïveté, Reider's ability to switch into whimsical falsettos keeps his delivery from becoming stale. Like Mike Patton (of Mr. Bungle and Fantomas fame), Reider is a fan of sputtering if the music demands it.

Mixing soulful vocals with noisy guitars, "The Kid Across the Street" is the album's most schizophrenic song and not entirely listenable, but it deserves credit for attempting to bridge genres. At times, the band tries too hard to be clever -- the random use of electronic samples ("Little Lady") as well as a phone message from a "crazy white boy in Cleveland" set to music ("Phone Message") come off as self-conscious attempts to be artsy. Still, it's refreshing to hear a metal band that doesn't aspire to sound like Korn. -- Niesel


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