Saturday, February 4, 2012

Like a Storm - The End of the Beginning

I have a feeling that if I heard this when I was 14 years old that I would have loved it a lot more than I do now. I guess that’s because at that time I hadn’t heard anything better than most of the “mainstream” nu metal/alternative metal that I primarily listened to at that time. Although there are still some bands from that time that still stick out to me more than three years later like Breaking Benjamin, Staind, Godsmack, Another Black Day, Flyleaf, Slipknot, Korn, System of a Down, Rage Against the Machine, and Taproot; I guess hearing the whole entire metal genre kind of “ruined” the whole alternative/nu metal thing for me. I went years where I barely even touched most of these bands that I used to listen to, and I’ve started to become curious about where these genres are today. The answer is that it’s not thriving nearly as strongly as it used to in the late 90s to mid-2000s. Of course there are bands that were around during the thriving period that are doing better than ever now like Godsmack, Taproot, Staind, Trapt, Avenged Sevenfold, Deftones, Drowning Pool, Korn (with their 2010 masterpiece that brings back the sound of their old days), and H.I.M. But the majority of the scene has pretty much faded out without much notice. So here’s one of the newer bands of that general genre that quite a few people have been talking about. Just to let you know, this band is more hard rock than metal.

One thing that I forgot about a lot of heavy rock and “mainstream” metal was the extreme simplicity of the overall song structures. That’s probably why most of the alternative/nu metal bands that still stick out to me today happened to have interesting and more complex song structures. But I mean, at least the more popular bands from those times at least had SOME complexity and creativity, because the musicians behind this album FAIL HORRIBLY at doing this. When you listen to Chemical Infatuation, aside from the choruses, tell me how many notes you hear the guitarists/bassist play. For those of you that don’t feel like looking up the song right now, the answer is TWO, two fucking notes! I can’t see how you could honestly think that you could pull that off and make it sound really good. It is possible to make it sound cool, but not if it’s just quarter notes switching back and forth between the two notes with a boring drum line as a “backup”. As much as the band failed at this, there is one thing that took me completely by surprise, and that is the chorus. The song switches from the overly repetitive and boring guitar lines to an explosion of color and tension that actually got my positive attention. The chorus is really good! That is, until it switches back to the two notes played in the beginning of the song.

Every musician in the band is below average in both skill and creativity. The only reason why I don’t consider this record a COMPLETE disaster is because their vocalist is FUCKING AMAZING. He is one of the best singers I’ve ever heard in this type of music. I mean seriously, what the hell does he think he’s doing in this band? He’s the only good thing about them and should quit and start a different band that consists of actual musicians; which will come with a 90% chance of INSTANT success. I’m going to say it again: I can’t begin to describe how powerful and crisp his young voice is! Hopefully he won’t stay with this rock band too much longer and realize that they sound like shit and he’s the only good thing about them.

I saw in another review that there was fusion of a lot of other genres in this album…….um…can you tell me where these “fusions” are? Because I certainly can’t find them! It all just sounds like alternative metal-influenced hard rock with a few ballads (which don’t count as fusing different genres). There are some signs of minimal experimentation on two songs where they add in some string instruments to give the songs a more emotional and melodic feeling.

Remember how I said that this album majorly lacks the complexity and technicality that I like to see in music? Well there are a couple of songs that show this band at least has the potential to write and play songs with some technical guitar lines. Several parts of Just Save Me really impressed me (and actually took me by surprise because I wasn’t expecting it) with their Breaking Benjamin-like guitar/bass lines to give the album some edge. After doing a quick overview of the songs just now to find the other songs that have some technicality and creativity in them, I realized that there aren’t. There is Enemy that just has some extra crunch on the guitars to make it sound heavier and that the last song, Keep the Pain Alive, is actually pretty good and an excellent slower headbanging song that has a strong Shinedown vibe.

Overall, this album is below average. Of course I have a certain level of understanding because this is a new band and this is their very first release. But still, I’ve seen A LOT better out of TONS of other bands. I mean, Black Stone Cherry’s debut release is better than this! And it’s boring and it pretty much sucks bananas! I would score this album a mere 6/20 with the only really good things being the amazing album artwork and the singer.