By now, rock 'n' roll is hardly a new influence on its twice-removed, thrice-disowned cousins, metal and hardcore punk. Entombed started "death 'n' roll" with 1994's Wolverine Blues; in recent years, Doomriders, Every Time I Die, and Cancer Bats have infused hardcore with rock's swagger and bluesy grit. Now it's nothing for a grindcore band to throw Southern swing into a song. Dimebag, you were truly visionary.
Salt Lake City's Her Candane tosses its hat into this crowded ring with No Battle! While the scarred-throat vocals, snare breakdowns, and sentences for song titles are par for the course, the band stands out with inspiring guitar work. Someone must have taken serious lessons, as the guitars carve out sharp dissonance, woozy psychedelia, and abstract yet catchy chords. U2's The Edge would be jealous of the rich variety of tones. The song structures, too, are exploratory, changing moods frequently and unexpectedly. Sometimes songs threaten to spiral out of control; at one point, the album turns into a late-night acoustic blues jam. But the band always brings things back to the rock. The result is chaotic and beautiful; you know how people in sweats with messy hair can be hot? This album's like that.