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Artist: Coriolis   
Label:  Youngside Records
Length: 11 tracks / 50:44

It's tempting to give Pennsylvania-based Coriolis a free pass simply because they're playing industrial metal, a style this reviewer loves but has disappointingly faded from even the fringes of the mainstream since the mid-nineties.  Fortunately, the group -  brainchild of founder Jonathan P. Stamets - is much more than some hackneyed "tribute" band.  Opening track "Between the Wheels" and the horror-movie themed "Resurrection Night" perfectly alchemizes Circle of Dust-esque programming with the the heavier, more pronounced guitar work of Rammstein.  However, Stamets is not afraid to display a more melodic - albeit still synth-heavy and gothic - side to his music, as he does on "Hypothetical Life" and "Adopting the Stillborne."  Fitting the style of music, the lyrical content is dark and macabre (and occasionally political), with a healthy dose of sarcasm to even things out; yet Stamet's personal faith shines through the gloom.

One of the best tracks is the hypnotic, more minimalist "Demigod," with its echoing snare fills and gentle, eerie beeps... when the guitars and vocal harmonies kick in over three minutes into the song, the "feeling" appears - the hair-on-the-back-of-the-neck-rising sensation that can only come when a song truly ventures into "awesome" territory.  But just when you think you have Coriolis figured out, Stamets tosses in a non-traditional (particularly for industrial metal) rock instrument like the pennywhistle, most prominently featured in the cinematic "The Paladin's Tale."  It's easy to imagine a stoic David Carradine striding across the land to the mystically heroic, yet strangely serene orchestration.  While not a perfect album (what is, really?), Coriolis is a welcome find on the independent scene.  Striking a balance between accessibility and the necessarily dark trappings that come with the genre, Coriolis will intrigue both old-school industrial fans and those who missed out the first time through.  All the group needs is a strong follow-up record to prove that Coriolis is a truly viable modern rock act - not just a nostalgic one-off.

Ryan Ro [|]

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