Fire in the Asylum

This is the rare album that bucks expectations from beginning to end. Although "Circles!" employs that normally grating nu-metal screaming vocal break, and "Wageslave" makes extensive use of a Pantera-esque trudging groove, both songs transcend genre limitations, with a curiously moody yet fitting outro in the former and strong guitar pyrotechnics in the latter. "Holding You Back" and "Little Death" both sound as though a tight, commercial hard-rock band decided it was sick of trying to fit in and made a concerted (and successful) effort to find its own voice. The same could be said of "Calling You Out" with the shining guitar leads under the main riff. It's obvious Fire in the Asylum pushed itself with each track to balance accessibility with originality in a realm of music where there aren't enough surprises.


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