How's this for self-confidence: After finishing sessions for its debut album, Richmond, Virginia-based baby band Cassius was apparently so convinced of its own ass-kickingness that the band members broke their leases, bought a tour van and started booking gigs at any club that'd have them. Luckily for the band, I Am Jim Jones burns with the promise of metalcore greatness, its 12 tracks carving a curious creative space between Darkest Hour, The Red Chord, and Cannibal Corpse. For those not fazed by such names, imagine the burped-alphabet vocalizing of death metal colliding with hardcore's white-knuckled rage while Slayer's rhythm section lobs bass cabinets and kick pedals overhead: in a word, brutal. Like The Red Chord (arguably its closest counterpart), Cassius offsets its blastbeats and twin-guitar assaults with enough mosh-friendly breakdowns to sate the hardcore faithful; but unlike The Red Chord, they're better at tweaking hardcore traditions (see the electronic slicing-and-dicing of the breakdown in "Funeral March," and the jarring, asymmetric shout-alongs of "Tale of the Leper"). If there's one flaw here, it's in the audio, as the muddy, bass-heavy mix obscures the otherwise jaw-dropping fingerboard gymnastics in tracks such as "Flight of the Failure" and "Deadbeat." Get these guys in the studio with Steve Evetts or Matt Bayles, and you're looking at something legendary.


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