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'EP,' Belt of Vapor

Belt of Vapor feels trapped. And on their new record, that's a very good thing.

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Belt of Vapor’s latest tome, EP, is a five-song shot of dark, surging guitars, overdriven vocals and reined percussion. “Bank Robbery #2,” a thunderous manifesto with steady-handed and deliberate dynamics, neatly showcases the band’s compositional prowess, wedding its trademark aggressive crunch with scaling patterns that drift melodic before amping up and descending once more into the breach.

Lyrically austere, the point is nevertheless driven deep into your skull with a sonic sledgehammer and an ominous finality in the mantra: “I’m gonna run and no one can catch me. Not even God.” From top to bottom, the thick instrumental assault — led by guitarist Bob Homburg and bassist Aaron Powell — is nicely accentuated (and anchored!) by Justin Walter’s nimble, precise drumming. And for all of its sonic opacity, EP is consistently lucid in concept, doggedly pursuing recurring themes of confinement, isolation and escape to their logical end with the rousing, redemptive closing instrumental, “The Ship Has Sailed.”

Nice execution, that.

DOWNLOAD: "Handles"

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