Invigorating avant-metal is how these boys from Fort Worth label themselves, and despite the pretense inherent in all things metallic, Urizen easily lives up to such a high and mighty description. Wisely straying from the typical metal onslaught of incomprehensible, Beelzebub-inspired vocals and double bass drum tedium, brothers Thomas and Daniel Drinnen concoct an epic, keyboard-enhanced barrage that sounds something like Pelican taking aim at the Moody Blues songbook. Ponderously titled numbers such as "A Budding Consciousness" and "An Unfortunate Realization" show that Urizen doesn't wish to deviate too far from metal's verbose pseudo-intelligence, but such complaints are rather minor considering the instrumental dexterity and muscle on all five cuts contained on Universe. Moving beyond the impenetrability and cliché of Autocratopolis, the band's 2006 debut, Urizen incorporates an unexpected element of electronica into the lengthy musings of Universe. While drummer Julio Escamilla flails away in the tradition of Type O Negative or King Diamond, the brothers Drinnen consistently bring things back into the realm of clarity, a wise and successful maneuver. You can catch Urizen live when the band performs on Thursday, March 6, at the Curtain Club.


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