Give it to me, Straight

Not to be confused with the ultra-polished Indiana University a cappella group of the same name (though that would be funny as shit), this extreme metal outfit dares to go where most of its peers fear to tread. Which is to say: awkwardness. Yes, Straight, No Chaser will still melt your face off with its rhythmically challenging, scream-filled riff workouts. And it brings plenty of inventive twists to the genre. But while most like-minded acts concern themselves with tough-guy/tough-girl posturing and race to out-heavy each other, SNC lets it all hang out. The band's music certainly commands attention on its own terms, but bespectacled vocalist Roy Golia's squirrelly-yet-comfortable demeanor adds a peculiar dynamic that's instantly refreshing — and accessible. When not screaming his head off, Golia suggests that there's more for the listener to grab onto than just a sheer wall of sound. Meanwhile, guitar player Erik Hmiel (who teaches at jazz camp!) throws plenty of tasty licks into the maelstrom. Metal isn't any kinder/gentler than it used to be, but now it belongs to everyone. Straight, No Chaser is a band to watch as it forces the music from the clutches of meatheads. Come — and head-bang — as you are.
Mon., July 14, 8 p.m., 2008
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Saby Reyes-Kulkarni