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Family: Portrait

Album Review

Eclectic East Coast alt-rockers get broody

Spontaneously, during their first ever gig, Kurtis Lee-Applegate, vocalist with New York-based (progressive) metal group Family announced: “We are family... and so are you.” The sentiment seemed appropriate for a group that draws on various heavy rock, heavy metal and hardcore punk traditions, giving them all equal prominence, and it has stuck as the band’s motto.

They may be based in the Big Apple but man-mountain Kurtis is a chef from South Carolina, while drummer Jody Smith comes from New Orleans and there’s a certain amount of swing and backbeat funk audibly mixed in with the ferocious blastbeats. Add into the fold guitarists Steven Gordon and Joshua Lozano (Man’s Gin) from New York and you have a band that’s equally comfortable referencing Tool, Led Zep and Converge – but then often in outsider, extreme music, family exists along aesthetic rather than blood lines. 

On tracks such as Delphonika, the mighty name of Mastodon must be invoked but with all the sludge removed, leaving a clangorous, spin-on-a-dime tightness that can’t hide behind distortion. The family that plays together slays together.

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