Birmingham, Alabamaís Annexed Asylum -- their alliteration, not mine -- is one of those American neo-metal entities that genuinely seems like a combination of its quantitative genre influences without any one of them truly standing out. There are thrash influences present, but this isnít really a thrash band. Ditto the recognizable nods to death, black, groove and hardcore. Itís no more a tribute to Lamb of God than it is to Cro-Mags or Testament, though I notice the long shadows cast by all and sundry. There is room for improvement on all fronts, as befits a band this green, but overall the songwriting is already up to snuff on most levels. The riffs are tricky without being technical, with perhaps a bit too much irksome pinch harmonics for my liking, and these guys seem to really take off come solo time. As opposed to the more charging and rumbling fare, the title track stands out as an excellent mid-paced march with a lovely tandem acoustic/electric guitar outro. I doubt that Combustion will see many spins on my player, but it isnít for lack of playability, and I can see these fellows expanding their fan base manifold with several more tunes of this caliber and a regimented touring cycle in ever-widening arcs. A half-point lopped off for some occasionally terrible vocal screams.