Sumac, Jaye Jayle, Norda | The Pinhook | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
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Sumac, Jaye Jayle, Norda 

When: Sun., Aug. 14, 8 p.m. 2016
Price: $10


Sumac's pedigree is unimpeachable. Guitarist Aaron Turner founded the stalwart metal record label Hydra Head, and he led the late, great sludge-metal outfit Isis for thirteen years until it split in 2010. Since then, Turner has mostly busied himself with Mamiffer, an abrasive and beautiful band he formed with his wife, the vocalist and pianist Faith Coloccia. Bassist Brian Cook cut his teeth in seminal metalcore band Botch and founded the genre-bending post-hardcore outfit These Arms Are Snakes, and since 2007, he's played with (and arguably bettered) proggy Chicago instrumetal trio Russian Circles. Drummer Nick Yacyshyn is the superpowered engine that drives the punishing Vancouver hardcore outfit Baptists.

Given the band's collective experience with avant-garde-leaning heavy music, one might expect Sumac to skew intense and complex. That it does: What One Becomes, the band's second LP, is a challenging and confrontational paean to the power of brutish riffs at high volumes. A thick, rich assault of deep riffage and thunderous wallop, What One Becomes crushes by grinding. It exists at a point of profound musical unease, sitting somewhere in between black metal's precision, post-rock's panoramic scope, and noise-rock's antisocial abrasion. Acidic textures open "Image of Control" in abstract chaos before exploding into an angular pummel, climaxing in machine-gun riffing marked by Yacyshyn's polyrhythmic rolls. The cataclysmic math metal of "Rigid Man" slithers and strangles, only offering reprieve in a washed-out ambient middle that feels less like amnesty and more like a threatening riptide. The seventeen-minute centerpiece "Blackout" is equal parts speed metal and modern minimalism. There, Yacyshyn's forceful tom rolls land like seismic tremors as they guide the lumbering chords of Turner and Cook in the song's opening section. It ends on an extended labyrinthine drone with a growing sense of dread, doom, and catharsis.

Terrifying and thrilling, What One Becomes sounds bigger than the sum of its parts, and it stands apart from the shadows of its personnel's past achievements. Botch and Isis remapped the worlds of hardcore and metal, but What One Becomes shows Sumac at the apogee of aggressive music, carving new terrain far outside its seasoned members' charted territory. Jaye Jayle and Norda open. —Patrick Wall

8 p.m., $10,

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