On paper, Chicago's Pelican is doing everything wrong. The instrumental group plays heavy riffs with clean guitars. It does doom metal in a major key. Lately, it's even traded in the ten-minute-plus epics of previous work for pop-song-sized post-rock bursts, which have kept the band's ear-shattering dynamic capabilities hidden. But by breaking the rules, Pelican has escaped the shadow of art-metal godfathers Isis and Neurosis and carved its own bird-shaped niche in the genre. 2007's City of Echoes may showcase a user-friendly, prettier version of Pelican, but the new After the Ceiling Cracked live DVD proves that they can still create a wall of sound that Phil Spector would (ahem) kill for.
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