Credit: Andrea Bauer

Electric Hawk

Drummer Noah Leger, who plays in ultraminimal postpunk outfit Disappears, holds down a day job behind the kit in the Blue Man Group’s onstage backing band. In 2009, after years of throwing ideas around, he and two other Blue Man musicians, Las Vegas natives Mike Burns (guitar) and Graham McLachlan (bass), put their mutual love of Iron Maiden to work and formed the instrumental trio Electric Hawk, which has to be one of the gnarliest bands to worm its way out of that kid-friendly production. All three musicians can play at a wizardly level, and on the brand-new Electric Hawk II (recorded at Electrical Audio by all-things-heavy engineer Andrew Schneider, who’s also worked with the likes of Pelican, Cave In, and Big Business), they hammer out a virtuosic, over-the-top prog-metal epic, welding together complex rhythms, growling low end, and spaced-out guitar solos. It’s an impossibly heavy and incredibly fun album, and the band is even better live, with Leger’s dexterous drumming usually the focal point—it’s music for shredders by shredders.