Solace in Nothing: Demons EP (Pitball) 

Tucson hard-rock label PitBall Records released a couple of solid EPs in early 2011 by Southwest bands Animus Divine and American Gods, giving the local metal scene a boost and suggesting more good releases to come.

PitBall's latest beast is Solace in Nothing, a local quartet of masked marauders visually indebted to '90s cartoon-faced, nü-metal acts from the Midwest, like Slipknot and Mushroomhead.

Spinning SIN's debut EP, Demons, I can hear that the band is also sonically indebted. That's OK; there's nothing inherently wrong with bringing back a style of heavy music that reached its commercial zenith 10 years ago. One problem: SIN commits the sin of offering few, if any, innovations. Sure, "What Have You Done?" delivers a thundering groove thanks to bassist Neko and drummer Mark (no last names). However, frontman Marcos' screams and clean vocals don't always match the rhythm section's consistent fury, and his goregrind "pig" grunts don't jibe in groove-metal anthems like "Bad Dog." Guitarist Chico generates powerful riffs, yes, but falls short when trying to keep up with, for instance, the elegant cello arrangement that kicks off "Demons."

These complaints aside, the EP offers exceptional moments. "I Am the Needle" digs into your skin with a doomy Sabbath stomp. "Sodomartini," besides being the best metal-song title of all time, is full-bore death-thrash.

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