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Throughout Pathos, it's clear the Fallen ones do more with the post-emo formula than most of their contemporaries. What's tougher to suss out is why and how, especially considering that vocalist Matt Guerin shifts from impassioned bellowing to guttural squalling in the expected manner, and the aural dynamics are in no danger of earning the Nobel Prize for Originality. True, the guitaristics of Ben Thompson and Dan Ha are sturdy and compelling, particularly on "The Lowest Degree" — and the Jerrod Fassler/Kenny Sienkiewicz rhythm section urges tracks like "Call It Cuba" forward with minimal muss-n-fuss. But in the end, there's still no logical explanation for the album's success at transcending clichés instead of succumbing to them — and that's okay. After all, some mysteries aren't meant to be solved.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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