The Tropic Rot

by: Poison the Well

After exploring elements of country music during 2007's Versions, Poison the Well revisit the lean machinations of hardcore punk with Tropic Rot. Gone are the mandolins, banjos, and acoustic guitars that added relief to the band's pummeling assault. Instead, Poison the Well return their focus the dividing line between melody and abrasion, often exploring both sides during the same song. Much of the grunt work is done by frontman Jeffrey Moreira, who screams his throat raw or sings in a brooding, alt rock croon according to the songs' demands, while his bandmates brew up ominous concoctions beneath him. Tropic Rot flirts with electronics and briefly references the western sounds that dominated Versions, but it defiantly lacks the liberal agenda of the band's last album, wishing to breathe new life into the hardcore realm rather than break the genre's conventions. As such, this is a fairly confident return to form, and longtime fans will likely file the album alongside The Opposite of December. ~ Andrew Leahey

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