Astronomer's Fyre features only three songs and clocks in at just less than 20 minutes. But the EP accomplishes plenty in that amount of time.

This Dallas-based four-piece is not some jokey, ham-fisted tribute to popular metal bands like Metallica or Slayer—or even Morbid Angel, Death Angel or Death. Yes, there are plenty of snake-like riffs and rhythmic puzzles—many debts seem owed to Metallica's Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets, At the Gates' Slaughter of the Soul and Mastodon's Leviathan—but they don't come across as mocking or trite. Rather, Maleveller sounds like a band that wants to rock out for hours, and not just a band that wants to be as brutal as possible, something too many metal bands unfortunately strive for. Meanwhile, frontman Brian Smith's voice—the only voice in the band—is more of a shout than a growl. It showcases plenty of strain too, but not the kind of strain one exudes while trying to pass a kidney stone (which is a good thing).

If there's a knock to be had here, it's in Astronomer's Fyre's production, which could be stronger. Still, that too shows promise: The guitars sound like guitars with meat on the bones, and the drums don't sound like frozen pipes being struck by hammers.

Judging strictly by the band's recent live shows and by this debut EP, Maleveller's off to a promising start indeed.

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Eric Grubbs is a Dallas-based writer who has published two books, Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore 1985-2007 and When We Were the Kids. His writing has been featured in Punk Planet, Popdose, Fort Worth Weekly, The Dentonite and LA Weekly. He supports Manchester City and will never root for Manchester United.
Contact: Eric Grubbs

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