Reviews Microwaves Contagion Heuristic


Contagion Heuristic

I don't think I've ever heard an album come from this far out in left field and still come together flawlessly. The general consensus seems to be that you can either have a totally bizarre album or a catchy, cohesive album, but you can't have both. But Pittsburgh, PA's Microwaves is living proof that they don't have to be mutually exclusive. This band is obscure enough to impress all of your hip, indie friends, but at the same time, it's something you can actually sit down and listen to over and over.

Microwaves has been called "no wave," but that doesn't seem to give a good idea of how they actually sound. The sound of Microwaves is a wacked-out whirlwind of skronky guitars (that sound like a more focused version of that one guy who did the Space Ghost: Coast to Coast theme music), synth-laden bass, and powerhouse drumming. When you take the delirious vocals into account, they sound to me like a less high-pitched version of Arab on Radar crossbred with the noisy, mathy freakouts of Daughters. This is complimented by a nice, lo-fi production. What really propels the songs is the happily noisy bass, played through all sorts of effects by mad scientist Adam MacGregor (former guitarist of Creation is Crucifixion and current guitarist of Conelrad). And while Contagion Heuristic is crazy and off-kilter, what really sets it apart is that it's genuinely listenable.

I'm sure it's been said before, but somewhere along the line, my generation (college-aged kids) came up with this nonsensical idea that for a band to be heavy they have to have over-distorted, down-tuned guitars and the same boring, repetitive groove. Microwaves should be required listening because it proves what a laughable idea this is. This album is way more intense, jarring, and insane than just about every album labeled "metal" or "extreme" that was recorded in the last fifteen years. Contagion Heuristic oozes with the kind of energy and chaos that makes metalcore sound like a bunch of diluted crap.

The bottom line is that Contagion Heuristic drew me in because it is so unconventional and cliché-free, but I still can't stop listening to it because the songs are so solid. Trust me, this behemoth of a thirty-minute album will suck you in and you won't want to listen to "regular" music for weeks.

9.0 / 10Tyler
Radio K 2
Leave a comment

9.0 / 10

9.0 / 10

Share this content
Radio K 2
Recent reviews


Mapping the Rendezvous

7.5 / 10 Courteeners - Mapping the Rendezvous album cover
200 Words Or Less

Written in Paris while the city was still reeling in the aftermath of the November 2015 attacks, Mapping the Rendezvous is an album that brims with escapism and the irrepressible ...

Dean Ween Group

The Deaner Record

7.9 / 10 Dean Ween Group - The Deaner Record album cover

I’ve never met Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo, the two-headed songwriting duo of Ween, but I have my own speculation about who contributes what based on their output in other ...

Street Sects

End Position

8.5 / 10 Street Sects - End Position album cover

Austin, Texas duo achieve an unholy alliance of industrial music and punk rock in their debut album, End Position. In paper it feels that something like that would not work, ...



Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.