Neurosis and its instrumental metal have spawned a legion of followers and side projects. Most of these bands -- including Isis, Tribes of Neurot, and Red Sparowes -- sound the same. They're all about nine-minute epics, droning power chords, slo-mo drum rolls, and noodling soundscapes.
Although Pelican is at the top of its game, the band has always sounded interchangeable with other instro-metal bands.
Producer Andrew Schneider (Cave In, Keelhaul) produced Pelican's City of Echoes. The band's new disc rocks as if the Chicago trio prepped with Tae Bo master Billy Blanks. Like he's working a heavy bag, Herweg reaffirms the dual meaning of beat -- from the double bass assault of "Bliss in Concrete" to the militaristic rally "Dead Between the Walls." He's a monster even when he keeps it elemental, like the tribal punk intro to "Lost in the Headlights."
Real pelicans eat fish; this bird gorges on raw, bloody beef.