UNSANE | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The granddaddies of posthardcore metal, these New Yorkers make the genre's popular vices--exaggerated bleakness, numbingly un-relenting volume, enervating levels of unfocused rage--sound like virtues. Front man and guitarist Chris Spencer took a much-needed break from Unsane between 2000 and 2003 (he'd been jumped in Vienna in '98 and hospitalized for internal bleeding, then promptly toured for six months), but it's like they never went away: the lineup's been stable since '94, the music's still reliably brutal, and the album covers are as gory as ever. (Yep, that's real blood.) Their sixth studio disc, Visqueen (Ipecac), wears its menace low-slung. Compared to the wound-up Taxi Driver rock the band started out with back in '89, it's nearly funereal sometimes, and it takes metal back through hardcore all the way to the electric blues: check the shrieking harmonica and hair-raising slide guitar on "This Stops at the River." The doomy, dogged, bottom-heavy riffs carry all the resignation Spencer's torn-up, vengeful vocals can't. 400 Blows, Mouth of the Architect, and Sweet Cobra open. a 10 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $12, $10 in advance, 18+.

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