Pelican | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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A buttload of metal out there, no matter which camp it calls home, still involves a dude with bulging neck veins howling about death or injustice, so hooray for Pelican, who don't have any singer at all. I'm not saying this local quartet have cast the shackles of genredom aside: their instrumental doom doesn't drip with the same sludge as Isis or Electric Wizard, but it's still sensory-deprivation metal (read: thinking man's stoner rock). The band explores the hypnotic, heavy space between melody and drone, with guitars that don't sear through a song so much as steep in it, lumbering through each epic anthem like a giant sloth--and I mean that in a good way. Though their first, self-titled CD (originally self-released, now on Hydra Head) presents no major breakthroughs, no point where the volcano erupts, there's a swagger to their moody lull sufficient to merit not just a head nod but a shoulder or chest thrust as well. And for you girls whose metalhead boyfriends drag you out for a romantic night of headbanging, don't worry--Pelican's got enough low end to diddle your skittle. This is their record rerelease party. Friday, February 14, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Elise Zelechowski.

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