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Sinphonics: Ghost Note Anthems (Self-released)

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Tucson hard-rock band Sinphonics has been kicking around town since 2005, winning a few battles of the bands along the way and releasing a debut disc in '07. The group had another album ready to go in 2010, but according to a press release, it was shelved due to a protracted struggle to find a permanent drummer.

Ultimately, the second studio effort was completely re-recorded with skinsman Jonathan Rodriguez, and the result is Ghost Note Anthems, a charging, Palm Desert-inspired slab of heavy, melodic, jazz-inflected songwriting that fans of the Deftones, Queens of the Stone Age and, heck, even Pat Metheny will eat up.

Guitarist/singer Andrew Rivas' voice walks an interesting line between commercial metalcore and gruff stoner-rock, and he unleashes equally powerful and compelling riffs. The radio-friendly song I find myself spinning over and over again is "Bad Juju," fueled by a highway-blasting momentum and thrash-flirting double-kick drum blasts. Another high point is pop-oriented, lyrically nonsensical "Ditta Lotta," with its swinging rhythm and killer vocal hook, proving you can be loud and still linger in the listener's head.

In contrast, the dizzying "Vertigo" is a prog-grunge epic and the perfect track to blast while driving desert roads at night.

Lineup fluctuations continue to pester Sinphonics (they just recruited six-stringer Andy Coronado), but, given the musicality displayed, the band is likely a tight live act.

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