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Critic's Choice

D'Artagnan was the hero of Alexandre Dumas's great adventure novel, The Three Musketeers. And while Denver's Dartanian will readily admit to screwing up the spelling, the foursome's music is just as swashbuckling and triumphant as its namesake. Sporting ex-members of the much-loved metal-core acts Shogun and Angels Never Answer, Dartanian has been foisting its self-styled "posi party metal" upon the local scene for the last two years. The act's eponymous debut EP swaggers and slashes like a piss-drunk buccaneer, mixing technical finesse with a manic, uproarious abandon. And people have started to notice. Besides a recent tour to the East Coast that included a show at the hallowed CBGB, the outfit's song "Rock the House" -- a stomping, shout-along anthem that inexplicably melds Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and classic youth-crew hardcore -- was recently picked up by the Pepsi Center, where it's regularly played to get fists pumping at Avalanche games. Live, the group often dresses up in cowboy costumes, Hawaiian attire or just plain ol' lavender spandex, while the crowd is assaulted by the band mascot, Captain Metal, an apparently deranged dude who wears a big robot suit and talks like a pirate. The fate of our intrepid troupe, however, is in peril: With the defection this fall of bassist Trevor Graham to the more action-packed environs of New Jersey, the quartet's upcoming concert (on Friday, August 20, at Rock Island) may just be the final chapter in the Dartanian legend. Hope persists, though, that the three remaining members will rally together and renew their bonds of adventure, fraternity and fun. To misquote the Musketeers themselves: All for rock, and rock for all.