Blood Run (Relapse)

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Unsane's "Scrape" video, which paired the band's brutal blasts with vivid footage of gnarly skateboarding injuries. That MTV moment marked the crest of the cult band's pseudo-stardom, but for all its aggressively inaccessible tendencies (grotesque album art, feedback-throttled shows), Unsane remains just a buzz clip away from the airwaves. The New York-based trio's ominous tones, scratchy solos, and distorted screams add sonic danger to its groove-heavy southern-style metal, while its staggered-but-steady riff progressions and striking countermelodies keep it tethered to a tuneful core.

Blood Run, its first studio album in six years, opens with the sort of beeps that usually announce something heavy backing up, but Unsane is not moving in reverse. The revitalized group runs through a gloomy gauntlet, ranging from slow-building cement-shoe stomps to propulsive percussion-driven rockers. The noise-band movement Unsane pioneered in the late '80s now boasts a voluminous roster, but these trailblazers still scorch the path with more intensity than their acolytes.

More by Andrew Miller


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