Any group that can play the hair metal haven that is the Revolution one week, open for nü-metal up-and-comers Chevelle shortly thereafter, and still win applause at reefer-rock fests like Emissions in Youngstown has to be about more than rote, Sabbath-obsessed riff-mongering. And indeed, Abdullah mixes the '80s-oriented new wave of British heavy metal fist-pumping, morose doom, and even vitriolic thrash into a sound that's more about dynamics than doobies. Cue up "Deprogrammed" for neck-spraining trad metal like Priest hasn't had in eons, "Salamander" for shape-shifting doom as slippery as its namesake, and the album-ending "They, the Tyrants" for a shot of white-knuckle speed metal with a killer solo.
What brings it all together is Shirilla's tough, tensile upper-register delivery, which infuses Abdullah's music with both drama and backbone. With swarming guitar and a nimble rhythm section, it all adds up to a pretty impressive, forward-thinking display that should help take this scene back to the future.