It's hard to imagine weather without Mark Heyka, but if he didn't do it, it might be cool to get Hemlock on board. The Las Vegas metal band can be hard to understand, but in the song "World of the Transparent," bassist and lead singer Chad Smith yells demonically, "It looks like it's going to rain./I said, it looks like it's going to rain," with the kind of certainty that calls for a 100 percent chance.

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The band is a favorite in Missoula. They often play shows with Slayer, Ministry, Korn and Lamb of God. (And local guitarist Matthew Bile of Walking Corpse Syndrome toured three months with them last year.) They employ the melodic, emo, groove-metal choruses that, in my opinion, ruin metal entirely. So does repeating marmish sayings like "You cut off your nose to spite your face!" even if it's done in a devilish growl. But when they're not doing that, they are wickedly good. A few songs sound like slowed down Rage Against the Machine. In addition to its fun title, "Vultures and Ventriloquists" sports whiplash time-signature changes. And it's easy to get behind "As Death Smiles," which is a burst of fast-paced adrenaline about freedom of speech with "Die! Die!" peppered throughout. It's more artful than it sounds.

Hemlock plays the Dark Horse Friday, Oct. 28, at 9 PM with Walking Corpse Syndrome, Undun, XVI Penny. $10/$8 advance.

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