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Therapy?: A Brief Crack Of Light

Their thirteenth disc proudly slaps its lack of flab.

Fame was but a gnat that flitted across the face of Northern Ireland’s punk metal mainstays Therapy? in the mid-90s. Once swatted off in the direction of emo and Biffy Clyro, they got on with business.

Thirteen albums and 21 years since their debut Babyteeth courted fleeting cool, they’re still pummelling out gnarlful and intense punk melodies to a hardcore faithful, this time leaning more towards the epic pop-metal bent of 1995’s Infernal Love (only considerably lower-fi) and the buzzsaw brutalities of Suicide Pact – You First (1999) than the industrial thrashes of their commercial peak.

Andy Cairns’ melodic clout is not a force that suffers suffocation gladly, bursting out of the motorik post-metal maelstrom of Ghost Trio with a stately authority, and doing its best Johnny Rotten on Why Turbulence?

But while the closing Ecclesiastes fails to hit its targets of ‘import’ and ‘magnitude’ by several light years, and the record verges on patchy and indulgent in its proggiest corners, when Therapy? are charging the bull-metal guns on Living In The Shadow Of The Terrible Thing and Plague Bell, they’re as handy as (a more well-adjusted) Fucked Up.