Sealing Pandora

by Jason Hoffman Prequel

Fort Wayne's Sealing Pandora formed in 1998 to address the lack of multi-progressional melodic hard core bands in the area. After countless hours of live performances they've released Prequel, their first album of monstrous grooves and thick guitars.

The album opens with duel guitarists Brad Lee and Craig Maloley unleashing a barrage of grinding guitars in "Ricochet." Vocalist Matthew J. soon leaps from the shadows with a raspy growl befitting the dense rhythms. The music quiets periodically, providing contrast and allowing Ryan Otherson plenty of room to ruthlessly pound the skins while the vocals change to clean singing. Bassist Tony Kiefer provides a steady yet manic pulse to this and other songs, brutalizing his instrument in the process. The guitars buzz like an angry storm of killer bees in "Slit Wrist Disease," an intense song of great consistency that sadistically assaults the eardrums throughout. "Medic" displays hints of KORN influence amidst a more plodding rhythm well suited for el mosho pittio. This song really hits with the variety of vocal effects and very strong quiet section where the guitar tone resembles a cello.

A melodic guitar riff opens "Lost Cause," leading to a variety of abrupt tempo and vocal changes, often finding the vocalist switching between clean and barking vocals in the same phrase. Insanely fast guitars characterize the double kick-drum fiesta of "October." while more bloodthirsty insects invade "Show of Hands," which showcases good interplay between bass and guitars. "Life 2 New Lung" bears a familiar riff which could garner radio play as the anguished vocals and thundering guitar tones sound dead-on, making this song possibly the best on the album with nice pacing and overall crunch. Ending on a display of technical wizardry is "Death's Grip." Double kick drums, flurries of guitar notes, stereo "call and answer" growling, and bass mania - it's all here to kill any brain cells that managed to survive the earlier slaughter.

At eight songs and 35 minutes in length, this album sits just about right. While a tad bit rough in the Tool-wishful rhythm changes, the energy is plentiful and the band captured some great guitar tones. In fact, I wonder how many microphones they blew out with all the screaming and guitar cranking as they strove for just the right sound. Available everywhere fine meat-cutting equipment is sold.

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