The Drunken Masters, the latest effort from Cincinnati's Croatan, is the next step in their musical evolution, pulling together many genres to create an artistically unique and furious sound. Building on their last two Man's Ruin releases, TDM's ultra heavy sound takes thrash, doom, crust, and noise, rolls it all together and throws it back before you even know what's happened. Croatan's ability to create controlled chaos is refined even further with this release. The stop-start changes and timing shifts are tighter and feel more organic, flowing in and out of the huge metal riffs. And just when you think you have a handle on this duo, the stark, plaintive notes that open 'Plague' begin. Perhaps the one thing you can expect from Croatan is that you never know what will come next. Croatan is Jenny on guitars and vocals and Mark on drums but their sound is far beyond the expected for a two-piece band. The unique rhythmic interplay and song construction could result from the fact there are only two of them who play as if joined at the hip, ripping through the most complicated changes like they're nothing. Then again, it could be a result of two people's demented vision. Jenny's vocals hover over all of it, ranging from seriously angry ('4 Letter Word for Hypocrite'), to melodic ('Evil Incarnate'), to truly bizarre ('Pissing Contest'). And as always, Croatan is a bit tongue-in-cheek as you would expect with a title like The Drunken Masters. Funny titles like 'The Cider House Rules!' and 'Double-click Your Face' are sprinkled throughout the mayhem. Croatan makes no attempt to sound like any other band but appeals to fans of all kinds of extreme music. The Drunken Masters is another lesson Croatan has learned well.
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