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ALBUM REVIEW: "At War With The Night" 

The Cage Kings

"At War With The Night"

Self-released

facebook.com/thecagekings

What separated the heavy rockers from those that were too heavy in the late 1990's was an adherence to discernibility — things you could actually comprehend, you dig? It was a cleaner, more concise sound that emerged from the grunge that emerged from the hair metal that emerged from whatever you want to use to label the 1980's sound.

That didn't mean that these groups had to shed the darkness or the message, nor did it mean the instrumentation — in particular the requisite heavy guitars — had to take a back seat to the re-emerging melody, and yes, even harmony. Bands like Alice in Chains pulled this off without any apparent sacrifice, and so does The Cage Kings on its new 12-song hunka hunka burnin' rock, "At War With The Night."

Even on the downturned passages during the album's varied chapters, each song is a study in deadly dynamics and defiance. The title track is a good example of this, and so is "Nailed to the Sun," which kicks off mellow with some pretty guitar work before taking a 180 into what could be another song entirely.

The vocals, overall, are urgent with a genuine ache and concern but virtually no drama. Nobody is screaming here to be heard. Recorded by Senor Sebastian Sanchez at Rochester's Acme Studios, this is quite an impressive album for a band recently formed in 2014. The overall mood of "At War With The Night" is minor and dark, and the storied songs don't make any attempt to lighten it up at all ... and in this case, that's a good thing. I'm betting this should be a thing of beauty to catch live. — BY FRANK DE BLASE

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