"Automata" (Metal Blade; 2010)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

An adventurous modern metal affair comes courtesy of the trio Return to Earth on their sophomore 15-track effort, "Automata."

Featuring the percussive power of Chris Pennie (Dillinger Escape Plan, Coheed and Cambria), this fearless unit binds a bevy of familiar styles together to form their own twisted take on electronic rock referencing the jittery nature of a Mike Patton solo project, PSALM 69-era Ministry, Linkin Park dramatics, the histrionics of Strapping Young Lad, the rousing spirit of Muse and the darkness of NIN without batting an eye.

Unafraid to toy with dynamics, insert a haunting piano break for atmosphere, or push the limits beyond the point of excess without sacrificing the tasty hooks bound to stick in your head for days (“Edge of Forever,” “The Replicas”), Return to Earth has successfully created an album that defies convention yet emits a tunefulness custom made for the masses while preserving an intriguing left of center heaviness throughout.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2010  by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.