For all of the raw energy that it takes to make vital heavy metal, technical proficiency has played an equal, if seemingly contradictory, role in the development of the genre. From Black Sabbath and Deep Purple to contemporary groups, metal bands have tended to flaunt their progressive tendencies rather than suppress themso much so that the kitchen-sink mentality of cramming a multitude of changes into one song has become the norm. Still, it's rare that metal bands thread those changes together smoothly so that they flow. New York City quartet Wetnurse not only achieves flow but also maintains it over the course of its hyper-imaginative debut, Invisible City. Creating a space where Bad Brains, Voivod, death metal, nu metal, classic rock and even psychedelic influences gel into a seamless whole, Invisible City builds up to such heightened release in places it reminds us that metal is still about passion and deferred climax even after decades of non-stop bludgeoning. It will likely go unsung as one of the most brilliant metal albums of the yearall the more reason to catch this band while you can.
Tue., Oct. 14, 9 p.m., 2008