Review Summary: 2009: The Year of the Ox.
2009 has been a monumental year for Metalcore. Not because of any worthwhile contributions by the sub-genre's rising stars but because the bands on whose backs the style was built and perfected came out of retirement, dusted off their instruments, and showed the new kids on the block how to, in the immortal words of Prince, party like it's 1999. Like the legendary Cave In and Converge that proved that they could still push Metalcore to new heights while being in their 30's, Coalesce showed listeners that they were still fit to be behind the wheel of their musical steamroller a decade after their supposed heyday with their comeback full length OX
. Not ones to rest on their laurels, as soon as OX
hit shelves Coalesce hit the studio. The result was OX EP
The OX EP
is the companion piece to its stunning namesake LP, and as such it follows in the same vein of bass heavy Americana as OX
. The OX EP
contains five new tracks (not including the coupled opener and closer “Ox to Ore” and “Ore to Earth” that recall Sepultura's “Refuse/Resist”) of sludgy, moody, and downright pissed off metal. OX EP
's first real song, “The Blind Eye”, hits like a Mac truck, as the band throw out groovy riff after groovy riff. “Through Sparrows I Rest” is an absolute beast. Sean Ingram's vocal chords work overtime, traversing a sea of tumultuous down-tempo bass and blues inspired lead work powerful enough to level a red wood. Coalesce also expand on the spaghetti western flair that was experimented with on OX
, making “Joyless in Life” and “Absent in Death” sound like something from an Ennio Morricone soundtrack. Even though they act more as interludes than actual songs, they help add to the diversity and personality that ties the OX EP
With the release of OX
and the OX EP
, 2009 belongs to Coalesce. Not only did they release the best work in their already legendary career, they did it with the spirit and energy of kids half their age. Viva la OX.