Get to know D.C. with our daily newsletter

We dive deep on the day’s biggest story and share links to everything you need to know.

With veins full of espresso and blenders in their throats, Seattle’s Blood Brothers have come to scare the living crap out of anyone over the age of 25. “Do you remember us?” they demand at the beginning of Burn, Piano Island, Burn, their major-label debut. “We wrapped your Corvette in cellophane, set it aflame!” The music is spazzy hardcore, like a Rocket From the Crypt record played at 78 RPM; the singing is a series of shrieks to which the term “bloodcurdling” doesn’t do justice. Some people call this type of stuff “screamo,” lumping the Brothers in with fellow West Coasters such as the Dillinger Escape Plan and locals such as Majority Rule and the late pageninetynine. That classification will work for now, but it should be noted that though the Brothers do sound like young men whose feet are being roasted, they’re less concerned with their own pain than with that of others. “Every Breath Is a Bomb” is a severely empathetic portrait of a rape victim to whom “every hole has a snake in it/Every crotch is a Siamese gun.” The prisoner of “USA Nails” uses her one daily phone call to talk to a pay-per-call operator who listens sympathetically to her suspicions that “Those pigs locked me up to see what color I’d rot into.” And “The Salesman, Denver Max” gets inside the mind of a creep who kidnaps a young girl and hopes that “By the time we hit the ocean, we’ll jump…down to find the undersea sun.” Of course, to most people, those lyrics will sound more like “BLEEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHH!”—but that’s what liner notes are for. As with hardcore, your ear has to adapt to music like this, and the first couple of spins can be difficult. You should stay with it, though, because the images singers Jordan Blilie and Johnny Whitney conjure at the top of their lungs are often incongruously beautiful. “Can you feel…/Your skeleton outgrowing your skin?” Blilie asks in “Six Nightmares at the Pinball Masquerade.” And Burn’s closer, “The Shame,” finds Blilie and Whitney delivering a “Sympathy for the Devil” gone batshit: “My heart is a black haunted room, weaving jackets for children who’ll never be born…/Everything is going to be just awful when we’re around,” the Forces of Evil say. “From these cliffs you can see the whole city laid out groveling like a field of wounded soldiers.” That the Brothers chose to make this song sound like a traditional rock epic is a bit surprising—though it’s certainly conceivable that their producer, Korn and Slipknot knob-twiddler Ross Robinson, insisted on having something he could play for potential clients. What’s more surprising is discovering how well it actually works. —Andrew Beaujon