The first thing you will hear on Caltrop's "Shadow and Substance" are toms. Do you remember toms? Many drummers don't. The poor things get passed over for snares (cliche) and cymbals (obnoxious) too often. John Crouch, Caltrop's drummer (also of Horseback), shows his rack-and-floor compadres some love in this song by crafting an infectious rhythm which carries the remainder of Caltrop's wheezing sludge into action.

"Shadow and Substance" lopes into battle where most metal is content to gallop—it moves forward quickly, but slinks, nearly stumbles even. Fitting for a band named after antipersonnel weapons that stick in one's feet, no? Coupled with the strained blues intro, courtesy of guitarists Adam Nolton and Sam Taylor, the first movment sounds goofy in a mid-'90s grunge way. But once the power chords erupt and the groove locks in, Caltrop hit hard, channeling equal parts Yob and vintage Haight Ashbury rock. I can see their music going over with those who love the first two Baroness EP's but not their full-length work.

Caltrop release their second full length,  Ten Million Years and Eight Minutes, via Holidays for Quince, today, Tuesday  April 3.

— Joseph Schafer

Caltrop - "Shadow and Substance"

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Holidays For Quince Records (CD)

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