Monday, January 21, 2013

Stream: Kowloon Walled City – Container Ships

On Container Ships, San Francisco's Kowloon Walled City creates murky post-metal without falling victim to the indulgences that usual come along with the genre. The album is the follow-up to 2009's Gambling on the Richter Scale, which was more focused on potent noise-rock. Opener "Pressure Keeps Me Alive" will have you feeling like you are trudging through the muck around the ship on the cover. The band could have continued down that path for the course of the album, but thankfully breaks up the monotony with tracks like "50s Dad" and its dissonant post-hardcore groove that sounds like the Jesus Lizard smashing into the Deftones.

The band fluctuates between these two styles with relative ease. The meat of the album ("Beef Cattle", "Container Ships", and "Cornerstone") finds the group wading in rivers of sludge. The colossal riffs contained within this middle section are in the same vein of Celestial-era Isis. They take another well-placed detour back into the twisted angular attack made notorious by Unsane with the next track "Wrong Side of History". Ending the record is "You Don't Have Cancer", which drags you back through the same muddy foundation that you began on in track one. When it picks up toward the end of the song, the guitars churn like a fleet of cement mixers alongside devastating drums blasts. It is the culmination of an apologetically bleak vision that is shockingly appealing.

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