C Average, Second Rekoning (Kill Rock Stars) WARNING: The new album from C Average, Second Rekoning, is almost entirely instrumental (I figured you'd want to know that right off the bat), and very, very heavy. When I say this is hard-rock slash metal, though, don't start thinking about Guns N' Roses or Metallica or your old Mötley Crüe albums. C Average have a hard-rock slash metal sound all their own, with some punk attitude in there too. Now, I don't love it, but I haven't heard anything like it, and it feels so refreshing. Not because C Average, a two-piece from Olympia, have some outrageous, experimental sound, but because they take the sound of metal and hard rock — and then add some more. Where some rock bands sound like 60 or 70 percent, C Average sound like 150! At a time when the typical human's attention span is getting shorter, C Average go for broke with six-plus-minute-long songs (no, don't worry, no boring drum solos). The songs contain enough variations to prevent that feeling of being caught inagaddadavida (baby). Headphones should definitely be used to listen to this album — intently. This is hard, brutal rock, sometimes fast, sometimes slowed down. Some bands don't wanna slow down — you might catch their unintentional slip-ups. Not C Average. They'll play 'em fast and they'll play 'em slow. Lead-off track "Starhok" incorporates racing guitar lines reminiscent of The Who; their cover of the Sonics classic "The Witch," with creepy vocals, is one of the few non-instrumentals. There's also a cover of Mose Alison's classic "Parchmens Farm" — only, as the liner notes observe, with "arrangement by Blue Cheer" (a very noisy '60s proto-metal band that did a version of "Parchmens Farm"). Constant throughout is a sound that feels like metal: cold, hard, dark and kind of scary. C Average make music you can't ignore. This is not an album to play in the background at a dinner party, nor road-trip music you can sing along to. There is very minimal singing and it's not fun — it's serious. The band thanks "Maria Juana" in the liner notes, which would explain that elusive stoner quality. But don't jump to conclusions now and think this is stoner rock — it's not. Where stoner rock is hazy, Second Rekoning is crisp and clear (well, most of the time). So when you're going through your record/CD collection thinking "I'm so tired of the same ol' thing," think of C Average because their new album is anything but tired and certainly not more of the same ol' thing. — Jenny Tatone

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