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PREMONITIONS OF WAR Left in Kowloon ****

Premonitions of War, who toured with The Black Dahlia Murder last year, deliver toxic metalcore interspersed with creative brutal Southern rock and grind/thrash breakdowns without any polish whatsoever that disintegrates the ol’ esophagus going down. No one’s there to pump your stomach (the doctors are all infected with the Final Plague); no one’s there for bedside rites (all the priests are in the service of the Evil One). PoW recall a less shrill Anaal Nathrakh in their faster moments; a rougher, raspier version of Neurosis in their slower. (Victory)

GHOST Hypnotic Underworld ****

Hypnotic Underworld begins with what the creepy orchestral meanderings of an 18th-century stage adaptation of Ringu might sound like, with just enough dark experimental noise dabblings to snag an Ether Orchestra comparison. It later dives into songs that seem for all the world pulled from a psychedelic ‘60s Tokyo rock opera, torn in an edge-of-your-seat identity crisis between Tommy and Jesus Christ Superstar, sans the acid. Are we clear? (Drag City)

PINK Try This ***

One expects filthy rock from such a genuinely badass creature, but instead gets slick pop. But Pink deserves props because: 1. For slick pop, it’s good slick pop, and Try This is her best so far. 2. Pink dresses scandalously but ain’t no ‘ho (“Last to Know”). 3. Pink co-writes her own songs (this time with Rancid’s Tim Armstrong). 4. Pink can pull off wearing a net band over her eyes without looking like a Greta Garbo knock-off gone terribly wrong. None easy tasks. (Arista)


Comfort Woman’s CD art is peppered with stars that look like salt on velvet, and the music offers the same: a transcendent path through your inner universe. Meshell Ndegeocello could be a new electronic visionary, or she could just be the latest Sade aspirant. But in either case, the grooving bass, ethereal synths and above all, honey-smooth, exotic voice of Ndegeocello will transport you at least to the nearest Star Trek docking station. (Maverick)

MEMENTO Beginnings **

Memento’s mainstream melodic metal may be too groomed for most nü-heads, and their MTV2 Headbanger’s Ball video for “Savior” is lame-o—but it’s the worst song on Beginnings. The title track, with its epic, sweeping chord changes in the chorus, and “Reflections,” swelling from haunting piano to a Middle-Eastern-wailing climax, are the choicest cuts. Memento name-drop Jesus in almost every song, but whether they’re for or against JC isn’t clear. (Columbia)

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Rebecca Vernon

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