Death metal, progressive punk and one of the best releases of the year highlight the latest roundup of Vegas music:
Rusty Maples, “The Western World EP” (rustymaples.com): Here Rusty Maples is with the kind of release that many expected of them.
Which isn’t to say that it’s by-the-numbers, rather that it’s pretty great.
This six-song EP announces itself with the kind of drumming, from Max Plenke, that signals elevated heart rates, and over the course of the next 23 minutes, remains consistently stirring, even during the plaintive strum of “Razor” or dusky waltz “Mausoleums,” which, like many of the tunes here, works itself into a lather by song’s end.
Frontman Blair Dewane sings of small pleasures and big plans, his voice a slingshot of emotion, backed by his brother Ian on guitar and bassist Mike Weller.
From the vaguely country-western gallop of “Favor the Fake” to an unabashed anthem like “Claw,” the band’s full-bodied indie rock rings out with growing power and poise, its reverberations sure to be felt far beyond this city.
See Rusty Maples at 9 p.m. Friday at the Velveteen Rabbit, 1218 S. Main St.
Narrowed & Southtown Lanes, Split (facebook.com/narrowedband): His voice is raw, his emotions even more so.
Narrowed singer/bassist Charlie Blasco screams his heart out here, as if attempting to unburden himself of the brick-heavy thing.
Musically, mentally, Narrowed seems perpetually on the verge of coming apart at the seams, their exhilarating “post, past and present punk” the sound of four dudes just going for it.
On this split release with Eugene, Ore.’s Southtown Lanes, Narrowed contribute three equally intricate and overdriven tunes where guitarists Dylan Silva and Sam Blasko supply the texture in the form of elegant, involved playing that occasionally swells into bursts of dissonance while drummer Chris Sanchez comes with such force, you feel winded just by listening to him.
These tracks were recorded live, and the intensity is as palpable as the frustration it’s born of.
Sinful Serpent, “Refusal of God” (facebook.com/sinfulserpent): Call it death before life: These young dudes from the old school are indebted to the death metal primitivism of guttural greats like Master, Massacre and Cianide, who were vomiting their vocals and tenderizing skulls with meat cleaver riffs years before this bunch was even born.
True to its roots, Sinful Serpent favors oppressively heavy doom riffing, a deliberate, cement-coated pace that occasionally accelerates to a violent gallop and vocals that sound like a gargoyle with acid reflux issues.
Check out six-minute funeral dirge “Evil Possession” and experience the difference between being swiftly executed and slowly bludgeoned to death.
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin