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Review: Spacebag – ‘Magnetic Struggle’

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Spacebag are one of those strange and essential creative endeavors that exist in the vacancies left by their forefathers. That is, instead of aping their influences, they clearly set out to right their wrongs. They are The Dillinger Escape Plan of Calculating Infinity with melodies. They are Discordance Axis with more patience. They are latter-era King Crimson with a punk sensibility instead of a nu-metal one. They are a far less pretentious Magma…or a far more pretentious The Fucking Champs. At long last, they are disciples of all of the above and beholden to none of them.

Featuring alums of Seattle’s rich avant-garde metal scene, Spacebag represents a collective decade or three of rock experience by a trio barely in their thirties. Guitarist Dave Webb lays down the foundation with clean, thrashy riffs interlacing with the guitar-like shred of keyboardist Luke LaPlante. The effect, most notably on songs like “Luke’s Rainbow” (natch), is like Deep Purple exploding, a lo-fi opera of metallic bombast that will probably make a believer out of your most anti-prog pals. Indeed, they wield their prog well, as evidenced by songs like “Dozer” whose spidery riffs are clearly constructed of more horn-throwing heart than brains.

This quick, dirty debut is a flash of sickness that holds the promise of a deep disease incubating. Kudos to Spacebag for keeping it weird–may their orbit expand.

— Alee Karim

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