There are some sort of natural bridges among prog rock, thrash and heavy metal, and grunge, and Phoenix trio Sectas attempts to cross them. The band's latest album, Voices of the Damaged, manages to mix disparate elements from each genre and still sound cohesive. From the prog-rock world, we have the "power trio" dynamic of Rush (along with expert rhythmic conniptions à la Neil Peart and occasional, nasal Geddy Lee-esque wails). In the metal corner, there are screaming guitar solos akin to Megadeth and Exodus, and from grungeland, we have the most audible Layne Staley vocal influence since Godsmack. But while Sectas singer and guitarist Christian Lee Vasquez's low, tortured croon evokes that of the late Alice In Chains singer, Sectas' music isn't wholly derivative. It's a good amalgamation of influences that's finding its own sound — especially on songs like "Alone," which boasts a burly bass groove and a spacey, sharp guitar solo; the deft, doomy "Control," which morphs into a chugging metal machine; and "The Door," which nails the prog rock atmosphere through a soaring, broiling instrumental. The band's still having growing pains (the same stalking power chords and high-tone six-string maelstroms show up in too many of their songs), but it sounds like they're halfway across the bridge already.


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