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Megafauna’s bombastic, fiery rock exists in its own realm.

The Austin power trio—fronted by Dani Neff on guitar and vocals —draws its complex yet infectious sound from multiple antecedents, turning from blues to prog-metal to big riffs that could rest just as easily alongside grunge as ’70s stoner rock.

Maximalist finds the band in a highly adrenalized mode, from the rapidly slashing guitar chords of opener “Eggs” to the dynamic shifts that guide closer “Chromatic Fantasy,” its pied-piper sway falling in a sudden jolt of instrumental frenzy. And while the music might suggest a banshee wail of a singer, Neff’s melodic gifts and sweetly alluring vocals create a terrific contrast with her heavy, raw guitar shredding.

The album’s flow makes for a thrilling listen. It’s head-nodding (or rather, banging) throughout, but the music never hits a repetitive plateau, with shifts in tempo and tone matching Neff’s brilliant guitar versatility, the wild riffs stacking high before she leaps off into dizzying solos.

The record’s clean, balanced and punchy recording (from engineer Tim Palmer and producer Dwight Baker) actually pulls some of the focus away from Neff, giving weight to Megafauna’s magnificent rhythm section: the hyper, punishing drums of Zack Humphrey and the propulsive, thundering bass of Greg Yancey.

A mind-blowing live band, Maximalist expands the band’s appeal on record. Fans of metal, grunge, prog, shoegaze, post-punk, power-pop, garage or anything at the loud and heavy end of the musical spectrum will find tons to like in the innovation and power of Megafauna’s latest collection of tunes.

Published May 29, 2014 in the Tucson Weekly.

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Eric Swedlund is a writer, photographer and editor living in Tucson, Arizona. His music writing has appeared regularly in the Tucson Weekly, Phoenix New Times, East Bay Express, The Rumpus and Souciant Magazine.

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