Ambient Metals is surely Tone’s most crafted, delicately controlled album so far, a massive and majestic monument to the somewhat surprising genius of intellectual rock instrumentals. The oft-mentioned Glenn Branca is certainly a vital influence on their guitar-driven hardcore sound, but equally important is Fugazi’s insight that you can be both punk and clever at the same time. “Steppe” and “Southpaw” represent the finest moments on the disc: adventurous, biting tracks where pummeling repetition is as enticing as it is maniacally arresting. “Sticks,” on the other hand, merely translates dilettante post-rock into hypnotic hardcore territory, convincingly demonstrating that everything on here’s not equally interesting.
For the most part, Ambient Metals will grab you by your throat and pull you in, making sure you don’t leave unmoved. It’s not for everyone, but no one can deny that Ambient Metals is one of the year’s most unique sounding albums, instrumental or otherwise.
Dischord Records: http://www.dischord.com/