Poison The Well may never get the name checking they deserve for helping to establish a scene that dominated the early 2000's; but hopefully that will change for what they are now pioneering as we approach the first decade of the new millennium. Wisely having abandoned the trappings of standardized metalcore with the triumphant "Versions" in 2007, the group have further molded their eclectic post hardcore driven approach into an even more robust concoction.
While "Versions" showed ambition and creativity, the underlying usage of spaghetti western-styled instrumentation that surged through the effort ultimately defined it. Not so with "The Tropic Rot", an album that while equally as ambitious, curtails the banjos and such for an ethereal melancholic journey. That doesn't mean the heart being worn on the sleeve isn't spraying blackened plasma all over the place though as this effort fittingly writhes with embittered rage, desperation and longing to be somewhere, or someone, else.
Unexpectedly the star of this album may very well be drummer Chris Hornbrook, whose thunderous playing and energetic fills often syncopate superbly, recklessly propelling the songs forward. His lively playing gives the rest of the band a wide berth to experiment heavily, allowing them to carve out both dreamy riffs and concise batterings. Not only that, his kinetic pounding also gives the albums lighter moments a much needed sense of boiling tension. Truly Poison The Well have proven with recent efforts that artistry and expressionism is being put forth before standardized song structures and breakdown quotas.
Not since the likes of Quicksand and Handsome has post-hardcore been encapsulated this intimately and rarely has it been adapted to the dynamic extremes this Floridian outfit have taken it to. There are epic tracks included here that broach upon Muse-like ascendancy while still retaining the corrosiveness of battery acid. That said, a few moments are a tad reaching, but at no point do they abjectly crash and burn. With "The Tropic Rot", Poison The Well have made an uncanny record for those disenfranchised with the conventions that plague the current heavy music scene, while still appealing to the more adventurous of them that revel in it. May they rot in peace.
(4.5 / 5)