Some general impressions
This is the second album by Thumb, and probably one that had a great impact on me back in the days of my youth. Overall, as with the previous album, the general mood on the album is angry and somehow depressive. But the main emotion probably is anger. The topics of the lyrics vary from disapointment from the changes friends did ('Values'), painfull parting with the past ('Remember'), cleaning the closet with the family ('Dad'), or promoting the idea of being vegatarian ('Cavemen in disguise').
'Hm, sounds pretty Emo to me...' some might think now. Guess again. The music is pretty rough, and the vocals are mostly shouted and in parts rapped. Not usually something I'm up for, but here it's done very nice IMO. The instruments all are in the usual spectrum of the Hardcore/Crossover genre. Heavy distorted guitar, pounding bass etc. What sets interesting accents is the use of various samples via the turntables. 'Dad' is a nice example. After the first Verse/Chorus, you hear a Star Wars like sample (Darth Vader style) 'I am your father'. Sounds clichee if you read it hear, but fits the song very good. As well as the starting sample of 'Reality'.
The album has it's own charm and sound. The instruments were not recorded seperately, but all together, like performing live. Chosen was the recording that sounded the best, or represents the energy and mood of the song the best. Which means, that sometimes that was not the technically or quality best recording. Still, sounds very nice.
All in all, from the general impression, this is one of the older 'jewels' of my CD archive. And along the records that got me into Hardcore-ish music.
What I really like about the album:
Like I mentioned already, all instruments were recorded along the vocals as if performing live. For that, all instruments sound pretty good. Especially the bass (which earns big points as I'm a bassist ;)). Compared to other heavy bands and records, like Hatebreed's 'Rise of Brutality' or 'Alive or just breathing...?' by Killswitch Engage, the bass is enormous. On those other records I have problems hearing the bass at all, on 'Exposure' that's not a problem at all. Yet, that does not drown the other instruments a bit. Very nice production work. The CD keeps a good pace throughout the album, and does not get boring so fast. (But, see below for more details -> )
What was not so good:
Though the CD all in all is great, towards the end it loses a bit of breath towards the end. The track I probably like the least is 'Cavemen in disguise'. It's too ****ing long. 'Exposure' is on the border, too. Up to the last two tracks, everythings fine. 'Aside' gets the wagon out of the mud again, but you have to skip youself to a lot of answering machine texts to get there... But the bassline alone is worth it, no doubt. :) Other than that, I have no complaints.
In terms of crossover/hardcore music, this is one of the 'older' records I own that in regular terms find the way into my 'Currently Playing' list. It was released in the mid-ninetees, but still has the energy to compete to the stuff I listen to today. The instrument work was pretty much on it's peak with this album, which was the last so far that was recorded with the original cast. I think the thing that could bug most people is the singing. The vocals are most of the time more rapped (so to speak). The shouting is very good IMO, but the 'rap' won't be everybodys case. (Though I think rap is not the right word, but I can't think of any other word right now)
I think if you're up for some music, inspired by the good old NYHC fraction, like Sick of it all or Agnostic Front, this could be a nice alternative to check out. :)
My song suggestions:
"Sell myself" - One of the best known songs of Thumb. Hymn like chorus, pretty cool
"Values" - Shows the good work of all instruments together, as well as the turntables. More or less the typical Thumb-song of that era
"Dad" - Gotta love the 'Darth Vader' sample in this song. Rocks very straight forward
"Aside" - The secret track. The bass is really great on this one, another good example for the work of all instruments together.
a solid 4/5 :)