Though it wasn't their debut, Baltimore band Arbouretum seemed to arrive on 2007's Rites of Uncovering, an eight-song guitar wonder that sometimes roared and sometimes wandered through gnarled, blue-collar blues. Over the series of albums and splits that have followed that first Thrill Jockey album, the group has struggled to balance its loves of English folk, spiritual rumination and rock 'n' roll exploration. They've stumbled over each strain separately, fighting to figure out how three respectively rigid pieces fit. This year's Coming Out of the Fog might be the closest they've come yet, with a title track that feels like John Cale in all his elegance and a browbeating that does the name "World Split Open" justice. In this instance, the destination seems better than the journey. Solar Halos open with fleet doom metal that's paradoxically ascendant, and Monsonia makes a rare appearance, too.
—Grayson Haver Currin