Core Effect breaks it right down in its MySpace profile, dropping names like Three Days Grace, Crossfade and Shinedown as comparisons for its thick-fisted sound. And it’s true: Avenue of the Americas — the Detroit quartet’s new full-length — is alt-metal, with WRIF’s playlist as its principal influence. The album art even features the requisite shirtless dude clutching his skull in torment. Core Effect hits its marks capably throughout Avenue; “Someday” alternates verses full of muddy distortion with layered acoustic guitars in the chorus, “Certainty” simplifies and broadens the stylistic palette of Tool, and the nice high-low harmonies in “First Time” help differentiate it from its leaden brethren. And really, leaden is what bands like this aim for. Like the familiar feel of that cover art, Core Effect relies on the meat and potatoes of alt-metal in the post-grunge era — dense, steadily midtempo rhythms that prolong the churn and chukka-chukka of the guitars, offset by choruses that let a few rays of sunlight in through the smudged cube glass, or even the bars in a window. “Just to know that we belong,” vocalist Randy Riddle sings in “Certainty,” and it’s clear that, like its source material, Core Effect believes with the combined strength of its tattoos that all its lyrical brooding over physical and emotional scar tissue can be lightened with one heartening phrase. When life is rough all over, it’s a small victory to take it on the chin. And if that doesn’t work, Core Effect has an arsenal of riffs you’ve heard before as backup.
Johnny Loftus is the music editor of Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.