Monday, June 17, 2013

Thousand Foot Krutch - The End is Where We Begin

The End is Where We Begin is Thousand Foot Krutch’s most recent and most publicized release. It’s really hard to classify these guys because they’ve spent the duration of their careers hopping back and forth across the line between hard rock and nu metal. Some of their albums are pure hard rock, and some of them are downright heavy nu metal. This seems to be the first album where they decide to find a balance between the two somewhat similar styles and do what they can to implement an equal amount of both into their music. I’ve never really been the biggest fan of these guys, but I’ve known about them for a while and I’ve enjoyed a few of their songs that popped up on random compilations that have come my way in the past. When I saw that they released this album, I figured that it wouldn’t hurt to check this out. After checking this one out, it turned into “checking out” all of the other albums that they’ve released. Oh yeah, speaking of nu metal, what happened?

Remember the first decade after the millennium (2000-2010) when nu metal EXPLODED in popularity and EVERYONE was listening to it? Bands like Godsmack, Korn, Drowning Pool, System of a Down, Slipknot, Saliva, Otep, Linkin Park, Mudvayne, Disturbed, Sevendust, Deftones, and Papa Roach were at the top of the food chain (and some still are) and some were releasing amazing and classic albums that many metalheads, including myself, fell for. This first decade of the 2000s was where nu metal ruled the metal genre; as hard as it may be for some people to believe or accept, it’s true. During this time Thousand Foot Krutch did not become the instant hit that some thought they would become. Instead, they took a gradual climb in both musical quality and popularity. Around the year 2008, the nu metal genre had already started to slow down. Godsmack went on an indefinite hiatus, System of a Down had split, Linkin Park had gone in a completely different musical direction, Mudvayne sort of evaporated after the release of their self-titled in 2009 due to their vocalist getting distracted with his other nu metal band, Hellyeah, and bands like Drowning Pool, Sevendust, Papa Roach, and Saliva had pretty much been forgotten about by most people.

Now that these monstrous bands are decreasing in sales, popularity, and overall publicity, the somewhat lesser-known bands that had spent this time under their shadows started to shine. Five Finger Death Punch, Hellyeah, Ill Nino, Stone Sour, Coal Chamber, Chevelle, and Thousand Foot Krutch suddenly exploded in popularity out of nowhere. The funny thing is…the sound of their music isn’t really any different than most of the other nu metal and hard rock bands out there. Thousand Foot Krutch, like 80% of the other bands that ride along that line between nu metal and hard rock, has always been nothing more than a carbon copy of what Creed was during the time that they released their first three albums. So if you think about it, it’s not the nu metal genre as a whole that has taken a fall…it’s just the REALLY big bands that have decreased in fame and the popular and underground bands that have continued to live on, some taking the newly vacant spots formerly occupied by the top dogs during that ten year period.

If you’re familiar with this genre and what the majority of the bands that come from it sound like, you already know what the new Thousand Foot Krutch album sounds like. Unlike most of my friends that stopped respecting and listening to nu metal years ago, I still have a handful of nu metal bands that I continue to listen to and enjoy to the fullest. So since I still see some quality in the genre, I’m still able to recognize good nu metal when I hear it and be able to separate it from the shitty nu metal. For me, about 70% of nu metal bands fall in the fuzzy area between these two extremes. They don’t really have any super disappointing qualities about them, they play the genre well, they know what they’re doing, but there’s a complete absence of anything that could possibly give them a boost or make them sound unique or ambitious. This is what Thousand Foot Krutch is; just bland.

I guess you could say that they’re unique because they can’t seem to decide between hard rock and nu metal, but even that isn’t saying much because THERE ARE ALREADY HUNDREDS OF BANDS THAT ARE DOING THE EXACT SAME FUCKING THING AND HAVE BEEN SINCE THE TURN OF THE FUCKING CENTURY!! It pisses off people like me that go through this genre searching for bands that ARE unique and ARE ambitious, especially since this is a band that has been around since 1995…THAT’S ALMOST 20 YEARS. With that said, it’s obvious that these guys are more than comfortable right where they are and don’t have any ambitions to push themselves musically because they’re so wrapped up in their lyrical themes which I’m not in any rush to discuss. Not only do I not care about a band’s lyrical themes, I don’t want to say anything about these guy’s lyrics because of the uproar of controversy it will cause; and we get enough of that bullshit on the internet enough (Sputnik Music, anyone?).

Anyways, if you look at this album and compare it to the rest that the genre has to offer, you can’t because it’ll blend in with everything else before you have the chance to compare and contrast. When compared to the rest of their discography, this is definitely one of their strongest releases, and, in my opinion, is the best album that they’ve released. There really isn’t anything in particular that I don’t like about this album. The singing is great, the vocal harmonizing is cool, the band is tight, all of the members do their part, they stay true to the genre, and they do a good job of contrasting sounds by throwing down really heavy shit and releasing some softer tracks to even things out. If you’re really into this type of music, then you’re going to love this album. As for me, I’m giving it a 10/20, right in the mediocre area where it belongs.