Sumac -- Love in Shadow

SumacLove in Shadow

★★★☆ First off, don’t let the 4-song-66-minutes thing fool you: there are definitely sections and breaks in those tracks. That said, this feels like Sumac’s attempt at pulling a Catch Thirty Three. And the band pull it off a surprisingly high percentage of the time. Yet, this brand of post metal can’t seem to consistently bridle their experimentalism to the yoke of listenability.

Sumac -- What One Becomes

SumacWhat One Becomes

★★★☆ On their sophomore effort, Sumac retreads their ponderous tonal territory, but one-up themselves by allowing more room for exploration, if you can believe it. There’s just a hint of thoughtfulness here, which serves to rein in Aaron Turner’s self-indulgent tendencies only slightly but to great effect. Whereas the songs on their debut “The Deal” sprinkled heavy passages across a bleak but sometimes forgettable landscape, “What One Becomes” puts more stock in the in-betweens.

Sumac -- The Deal

SumacThe Deal

This was a surprise, considering that almost half of this band is Aaron Turner, the second-hardest working man in metal, and judging from his recent efforts, a confirmed audio sociopath. But rather than an assault of antisocial noise, this is a dirty yet progressive slab of musical rage. It’s somewhere between Isis (natch), Old Man Gloom (natch), and The Jesus Lizard (huh?) The result is almost impossible to turn away from, compelling and unique and satisfying.