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Coalesce - "Ox" (CD)

Coalesce - "Ox" CD cover image

"Ox" track listing:

1. The Plot Against My Love (2:53)
2. The Comedian In Question (1:40)
3. Wild Ox Moan (3:24)
4. Designed To Break A Man (2:31)
5. Where Satires Sour (0:48)
6. The Villain We Won't Deny (2:11)
7. The Purveyor of Novelty and Nonsense (3:23)
8. In My Wake, For My Own (3:16)
9. New Voids in One's Resolve (2:30)
10. We Have Lost Our Will (1:21)
11. Questions to Root Out Fools (2:47)
12. By What We Refuse (3:29)
13. Dead is Dead (2:02)
14. There Is A Word Hidden In The Ground (2:50)

Reviewed by on August 27, 2009

"Crunchy, grinding guitars, pounding drums, and innovative genre mixing make this album stand out from the norm."

With the typical aggression expected from a metalcore album, Coalesce presents “Ox,” a simply-titled album that is far from being simple. Crunchy, grinding guitars, pounding drums, and innovative genre mixing make this album stand out from the norm.

Coalesce incorporates a lot of elements into this album to keep it interesting, such as odd time signatures and beautiful instrumental tracks that use acoustic guitar work that is almost Latin-sounding. The element that stands out on this album by far is the band’s use of blues-sounding sections. “Wild Ox Moan” starts out entirely as a blues song before tearing off into an aggressive metalcore song. In other places in the album, bluesy chanting and clapping is integrated. This element is very different for such a heavy album, making it quite unique.

The song structure on this album is characteristic of the metalcore genre, for the most part. The songs are well balanced in that Coalesce uses a lot of fast, grinding parts matched by slow, super heavy parts. This structuring keeps the songs well rounded and keeps the listener’s attention.

The vocals are the spearhead of aggression on this album, in particular on “In My Wake, For My Own.” The band distorts the vocals to add a static-y, lo-fi effect; so much so that I had to stop the music and play something else for a second to make sure my speakers weren’t damaged.

Little bits of skill are scattered around the album to keep the songs interesting. “The Comedian in Question” features dissonant keyboard work, while "New Voids in One's Resolve” uses some excellent bass work. The band also uses math riffs and stop-start guitar work on a few tracks, including “The Plot Against My Love” and “Wild Ox Moan.”

“Ox” is an album that definitely keeps things interesting. The riffing is well-played and incorporates lots of different elements. The instrumental songs are well-spaced on the album and don’t detract from the atmosphere in the least bit. There are some parts that blend together and start to sound unvaried at times, but for the most part, this album is a satisfying chunk of heaviness.

Highs: A very well-played album with innovative, genre-mixing elements.

Lows: Songs blend together a little bit.

Bottom line: A very well done metalcore album that features skilled playing and experimentation.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)