An Evil Heat is Oxbow's fifth album and their first in five years, and for a band who on paper might appear past their prime, it's a surprisingly good album. Actually, it's just really good, period. Compared to earlier albums like Fuckfest or King of the Jews, this album is much stronger in terms of how well the band uses dynamics and in how well the songs flow together. As a result, it stands up much better as a unified whole than those earlier releases. Otherwise, Oxbow's trademark elements are still in place: the jagged-edged noise rock foundation, the bluesy/Led Zeppelin-ish overtones, and Eugene Robinson's squirming vocals (somewhere between a Baptist preacher and an unhappy two-year-old). Tracks such as ."..The Stick" and "Skin" have parts that are as heavy and hard rocking as anything the band has ever done, but then again, there are also moments (on "Sweetheart" and "Sorry") that are sad and almost pretty. "Sorry" is the album's standout track, a prime example of the band's ability to go from sounding quiet and heartbroken to heavy and violent without sounding contrived. (It is also a great example of Robinson's vocal range, emotionally speaking, especially since he doesn't technically "sing" anywhere on the album.) In short, this album runs the gamut from guitar feedback experimentation to bluesy quietness to odd-time-signature heaviness worthy of Melvins, and it does so gracefully throughout.