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The Relapse Contamination Tour 

With Mastodon, Cephalic Carnage, and others. Thursday, May 22, at the Agora Theatre.

Relapse Records has a better track record than just about any indie label around, and its current tour features three of the most interesting bands on its roster. Upon first listen, headliners Mastodon seem to settle for being heavy for heavy's sake. But even after a dozen or so replays of the band's 2002 debut, Remission, its pummeling sound reveals hidden depths and subtle intricacies; hopefully, that attention to detail translates to the stage.

Cephalic Carnage does the same trick with grindcore, mixing blast beats with jazz chordings to impressive effect; these guys will have you whirling like a nine-armed meth freak in the pit. Dysrhythmia, one of Relapse's best recent signings, is an instrumental trio that mixes hardcore and punk with speed and concision, and bits of prog-rock adventurism thrown in (think King Crimson, not ELP). They rip it up, but you could stand in the back monitoring the time-signature changes, if you wanted to. Openers Uphill Battle do the math-core thing in a mediocre manner. They're a good, unsurprising appetizer for the three-course banquet that follows.

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