With Misery Index and Kataklysm. Sunday, May 2, at the Agora Theatre.

Mean Girls
If Killswitch Engage's sound -- hardcore muscle defatted by the exacting butcher's blade of Swedish death metal -- is the future of American metalcore, then Killswitch guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz is the genre's model producer. Besides producing his own unstoppable band, Dutkiewicz has already helped shape Unearth, From Autumn to Ashes, Every Time I Die, All That Remains, and more into some of the hottest names in genre-blurring, envelope-pushing underground heaviness.

That's why it's so exciting to see Dutkiewicz's name on Horror, the second album from Boston-based extremists Cannae. The quintet worked with producer and Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou on its debut, Troubleshooting Death, and delivered one of 2000's gnarliest metalcore discs in the process -- inevitably gaining some Converge comparisons because of its frequency-obliterating fidelity. But with Horror (you've gotta admire the band's knack for titling albums), Cannae's yowling and claustrophobia and general atmosphere of, well, horror, are refined to the point of murder, rather than overkill.

True, as on Troubleshooting Death, these dudes still sound like they've gotSlayer, At the Gates, and Converge riffs tattooed on their brain stems. And their chugging, elephant-sized breakdowns are still capable of working any mosh pit into a whirl of human meat. But it's the little things -- the screaming twin guitars, the pumping (and likely triggered) kick drums, the jaw-dropping sense of focus -- that make the difference where Horror's concerned, and it's Cannae's sense of restraint that makes the idea of "troubleshooting death" seem way literal this time out.

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