"Visqueen" (Ipecac; 2007)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

For whatever reason, I'd never heard of Unsane before, which makes it all the more amazing that this is easily the best CD I've heard all year. Granted, it's only March and we've got nine more months of what looks to be great music ahead of us, but the way "Visqueen" grabbed me from the beginning and hasn't let go ... even after probably a dozen listens since the CD arrived in my mailbox ... it's going to be tough to beat.

"Visqueen" is crushing stuff, with a down-tuned sound that's low enough to pulverize concrete yet bares hooks that rip into the crevasses of your brain and stay put. Most of the tunes are mid-tempo sledgehammers with slightly off-kilter guitars that give the CD an eccentric, if not psychotic, atmosphere and attitude. And don't let the term "mid-tempo" fool you: "Visqueen" rocks hard and fast throughout.

There are plenty of surprises to be found on "Visqueen" as well. "Only Pain" features a lead riff that sounds as though it were lifted from a Godzilla movie, and carries just about as much destructive force. "Against the Grain" and "Windshield" features freaky guitars that could almost come from a spaghetti western. And "East Broadway," the final track, is a long, grinding (and somewhat repetitive), instrumental that that could be the background score from Unreal Tournament.

There's nothing I love more than slipping a CD into the player and being sucked into its world immediately and completely. "Visqueen" is the first album to do that for me in a long time. The bad news is that it took me this long to discover the band (they've been around since 1991). The good news is that now I have their entire back catalog to explore.

Unsane: Chris Spencer - vocals, guitar; Dave Curran - vocals, bass; Vinny Signorelli: drums).

For more information, check out www.theunsane.com

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 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 04 Sep 2023 15:33:16 -0400.