Not a week after Beatcomber railed against the general mindlessness of local rock cockfights (a.k.a., battles of the bands), we bore witness to yet another travesty of musical justice. Osiris Rising, a Coconut Creek goth-metal four-piece, was robbed of certain victory at one more in an endless stream of shady contests. Dwarfing a talent pool about as deep as a shot glass, Osiris Rising was the only group with a fully developed sound and style among the four on the roster. The young group nailed the intimidating look of misfit metal alkies, sporting shaggy hair curtains the other aging bands would've paid to have transplanted. They also brought a sense of humor the other groups lacked: singer Michael Ibarra licked the microphone handed to him by host "Naughty" Natalia de la Cruz before dedicating the song "Strap On" to the leggy radio jock. But it was the potency and cohesion of the music that set them apart, dark and dense behind guitarist Joseph Arthur's sludgy, drone-drenched picking and drummer VOR's aggressively syncopated fills. Ibarra's voice echoed somewhere between Maynard Keenan of Tool and Journey's Steve Perry -- really -- a rich, almost romantic croon that quickly snapped into an angsty bark. Listening to Osiris Rising, you could actually feel the dedication and potential behind the Mack Truck momentum of the music. You can also hear it on the band's self-produced debut, Diluting the Gene Pool, released earlier this year and available at www.osirisrising.tk.
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