Review: City of Ships – Live Free or Don’t Tour

Label: Forcefield Records

Released: January 27, 2009

This vinyl-only release collects two earlier City of Ships EPs from 2006 and 2007 that are clearly worthy of being issued on this superior format. Both EPs feature monstrous waves of dissonance underscored by shockingly melodic lines. The tension created isn’t pleasant, but reflects that nice is a minor virtue next to truth and truth isn’t always pretty. The influence of two 90s phenomenons, progressive metal and post-hardcore is clear, yet City of Ships is not of the past, but the future. There are metal elements, but absent is the flashy riffage that makes much metal a bore. In its place is an intensity that has few rivals. Call it post-hardcore, post-rock or whatever, one thing is clear, it’s post-something. The tension it creates is constant even as the music ebbs and flows. It’s not pleasant, but a rewarding exploration of the tensions of life.

The vinyl itself is as striking as the music. The black and yellow swirl looks like it might glow in the dark and it certainly could be dangerous to those given to seizures. Seriously, cool stuff.

Satriani: 8/10
Zappa: 7/10
Dylan: 7/10
Aretha: 9/10
Overall: 8/10



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