AS DELUGED BY hype as we are, sometimes it's nice to get deep into a band you've never heard of. I know next to nothing about Saros. I know they're from San Francisco, and I know they have a girl singer but, beyond that, I have a record and that's all I'm asking for. It's pleasure in the unknown. Unbiased kicks.

Saros' Five Pointed Tongue is a five-song crusher of tight, jaw-busting metal. There are dark, witchy acoustic-guitar breakdowns, shredding speed riffs, jittery dissonance, but mostly it's just heavy, flawless brutality. The 10-minute-plus "In Arctic Exile" begins the CD with a drone of feedback, which turns bassy and warm before a big, swinging, beefy riff comes on and kicks off one of the most epic metalscapes I've heard in forever. The guitar part has a spaghetti-Western driving vibe; it rolls across the land, proud and menacing, before the song slows to a death crawl, and then breaks down and lurches out ahead of itself.

Track two is a murderous, shuddering grind. The third one, "Sleeping Beast," is the band's pop song at nearly six minutes, shown up only by the fifth track's five-minute rock radio metal perfection. It's the fourth song, though, that really gets me. "Origins" is 12 minutes of guitar genius (beautiful acoustic intro), cascading percussion, and a stormy, full-circle quiet-destructo-quiet build. The fact that these guys are playing a cheap show ($5) at Ground Kontrol thrills the hell outta me.