Like drinking tall boys of Steel Reserve, listening to Poison the Well’s new album requires either an acquired taste or an extreme apathy in order to endure it.
This fifth installment of the band’s discography maintains the Post Hardcore brutality, speed and intensity of its former albums, which is likely to please long-time fans but unlikely to draw a new crowd. This is not to say that the band hasn’t evolved since its last album, Versions, released in 2007.
Many songs on The Tropic Rot are composed of slow, drudgy melodies, muddy guitar riffs and sinister vocal harmonies that create the effects of eeriness and impending doom more so than earlier material. The album is driven by experimental melodies and unusual time signatures, buttressed by the occasional double-time verse that will (no doubt) have fans throwing fists around like wrecking balls in the pit. But while pedal-to-the-metal songs like “Cinema” and “Celebrate the Pyre” undeniably rock, the numerous slow songs on the album drag and are easy to skip.
Bottom line: PTW compromises nothing on The Tropic Rot but the opportunity to attract a mainstream audience — once again, they prove themselves to be proud loyalists of the Hardcore underground. Grade: C