Sonic Reducer

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Antares is a supergiant star about 10,000 times brighter than the sun. SuperGiant couldn’t have picked a better luminous entity to name its 15-song LP after. The wall of flames that springs up unexpectedly on the album’s first track, “Psychedelic Sunset,” never dies down. The guitars take a go-heavy-or-go-home approach, and singer Joel Rogers has a deceptively vicious metal bark that flares when provoked. Despite its always full-throttle nature, Antares has some stellar dynamics on display, which build to a smattering of powerful climaxes that leave a charred trail in their wake. (SM)

Nine Inch Nails The Slip (The Null Corporation)

If you check the NIN website every so often, you might have already copped a free version of The Slip months ago. But those that prefer physical over digital have had to wait until now for hard copies in vinyl and CD. Yes, Trent Reznor has been super busy grinding out industrial soundscapes on epically independent levels, including a 36-track instrumental that dropped last March on the website. There are a few familiar NIN aspects in The Slip , but it also casts new shadows. While some songs remain wrapped in blankets of ambience and ghost-like vocals from Reznor, others conspire to start a dance party. (JH)

The Toadies No Deliverance (Kirtland Records)

I knew The Toadies was from the Lone Star State, but I never really thought of it as a "Texas band." Well, paint singer Todd Lewis in barbecue sauce, because he’s traded his boyish vocals for a low-down twang more reminiscent of Monster Magnet’s Dave Wyndorf. And it’s not bad. If you were holding your breath during the band’s six-year hiatus for another "I Come from the Water" or "Possum Kingdom," go ahead and exhale. This disc is not that album. Instead, enjoy a decidedly more bluesy, Southern, stoner-rocky Toadies. (MD)

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