With Searing Hour, Die Section Ate and Human Ritual
Some people will always hate metal: mild-mannered next-door neighbors who hear it wailing through their walls, paranoid literalists who fret about becoming the victims of Satanic rituals, hip-hop fans who rightfully resent riffers who try to rap. Recently, though, the genre's most public offerings have been hard for anyone to love, even -- perhaps especially -- hard-core fans. Metallica's infuriating St. Anger dooms promising thrash with tin-cup production, and this summer's hard-rock tours punish fans of decent bands with hours of feckless filler. Fortunately, local headbangers stick to a bludgeoning blueprint. Moiré's relentless moshathon Without Place contains all the key components of an effective metal album: gruff, intimidating vocals; a drummer who seems to have bypassed his kit and gone straight to pummeling listeners' skulls; anti-religion rants; and songs structured to detonate on impact at live shows.