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Bardo Pond, "Dilate"

Simply put, Bardo Pond have never impressed me. I've never heard one oftheir records and wanted to hear it again and again. In fact, therewere times that I wanted to shut them off halfway through, as eitherthe squelching guitar or vocals were annoying enough to warrant.'Dilate' is the first release that I can honestly say I like, and forextremely good reason. Where the band has always been known for theirnear-heavy metal crunch and destruction or their plodding along untilnothing really happens, "Dilate" finds them concentrating more on darkmelodies and subtle arrangements with a much fuller sound. Sure, thereare loud guitars. But rather than smacking you on your stupid head,they're in a far more menacing tone, where you know it's not just forthe noise but for the effect. The opener, "Two Planes" is pained andbrutal with a lovely undertone of violin and bass, so when thebackwards recordings and acoustic guitar of "Sunrise" come in, you'realmost unsure if you're listening to the same band. The lovelyintertwining blues guitar lines by the Gibbons brothers are morepronounced here, as well. Sometimes they almost sound like Canned Heat,which was a very strange experience for me. There are low points evennow, as on "Aphasia," where it almost seems like the song will never berealized until the last minute where it explodes in awesome wonder. Theabrasiveness is mostly gone, though, so there's very little not tolike. Every track has a place to go, too, a change from other records.Bardo Pond is developing in a very brave way, challenging their ownideas and those of their listeners. Jump in at the shallow end and wadein: 'Dilate' is the latest release and the most impressive yet.