Quick: Name one hardcore punk album from the past 10 years—hell, make that ever—that opens with a lilting flute solo followed by a chorus of electric guitars so dense, pealing, and overtone-rich, they could make minimalist-rock architect Rhys Chatham's neck hair stand on end. That's just the first of many moments on Fucked Up's second full-length where the Canadian band pushes hardcore beyond traditionally accepted limits of artfulness. The rest of The Chemistry Of Common Life heads even further into left field, often with staggering results: Neu!-esque motorik grooves, philosophically dense lyrics about the birth/death cycle, up to 70 simultaneous guitar tracks, and waves of Eastern percussion and melody, all powering 11 hugely textured songs that still hit as hard as a 90-second Negative Approach jam. While it's offset on a few songs by "clean" female vocals, Damian Abraham's glass-gargling roar remains the primary source of Fucked Up's visceral energy. From this point on, it'll be more exciting to see how much farther beyond gut-level the band is willing to go.
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