Up-and-coming Tucson-based metal quintet Lethal Dosage's second release, Consume, follows a nonlinear narrative throughout its 10 tracks about the devastating effects of alcoholism, opening a window into the lives and situations affected by the addict. From album opener "Drink" to the inevitable conclusion "Sleep," the song titles tell the story, but Consume doesn't operate at face value.
On first listen, the machinelike drumbeats, mournful guitar patterns and guttural vocals feel oddly disconnected from each other, just as addiction tends to rip the body from the soul. What separates Lethal Dosage from throngs of other bands with similar components is the way the production and arrangements are uncluttered by overplaying.
Consume further breaks with metal tradition in how songs like "Katheter" are performed. Frank Chacon Jr.'s rapid-fire drumming and Daniel Davis' low-pitched screaming are markedly free of aggression and anger. The juxtaposition of orderly and precise music with detached lyrics driven by cold reasoning makes Consume play out like an Apollonian Greek tragedy. Catharsis comes via the climactic "Time to Think," but Lethal Dosage's gripping drama finds true resolution in the album's final track, the ruminative "Sleep," which feels like a door slamming shut after all options are gone. In its implied permanence, maybe it's actually a coffin.