Editors' pick


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Editorial Review

Album review: "Splitting Sky"

The Washington area is quite a hotbed of stoner metal, with such bands as King Giant, Clutch and Nitroseed all calling the District or Maryland home. The newest addition to the scene is Borracho, whose debut album, "Splitting Sky," showcases the quartet's heavy blend of stoner metal and Southern rock.

Borracho has mastered the delivery of an infectious hook. "Splitting Sky" is bursting with catchy riffs and skilled playing. The 11-minute "Grab the Reins" begins and ends with a growling, earwormy bass line and layers pulsing guitars throughout. The album is full of such memorable moments: The guitars on "All in Play" scamper and soar, and the long instrumental beginning of "Never Get It Right" conjures a cavernous, spacelike atmosphere before exploding into an energetic riff. Even the 97-second instrumental album opener, "Redemption," is an impressive roar, not just a throwaway track.

Vocalist Noah Greenberg adds a layer of roughness to the polished instrumentation. At times, his hoarse bark verges on sounding strained, but he turns that tension into an urgency that adds to the overall sound. Greenberg's throaty howls on "Bloodsucker" are flooded with passion, showing that the one thing that can stand out over Borracho's catchy riffs are his attention-grabbing bellows.

--Catherine P. Lewis, Dec. 16, 2011