Review Summary: Bad song placement often harms the album's quality, but this band has enough confidence to make it work just fine.
"With My Mind" was the first song I remember hearing from these guys and it (pun intended) blew my mind. It was used to help promote the equally awesome PS2 video-game named Psi-Ops
. The song successfully platformed Cold onto my musical radar. Flash-forward to modern times and I've listened to both 13 Ways to Bleed On Stage
and Year of the Spider
, it's still a toss-up as to which one is the best simply because of the shift in styles. Year of the Spider
was definitely aimed more for the commercial market than their previous effort.
The album does open up in style, but an odd track follows it's well-laid trail. "Suffocate" is very odd because it's both catchy and somewhat mean-spirited (which usually doesn't work for me). The verses before each chorus are all solid, but the chorus gets extremely repetitious fast
, as it slithers towards an unmemorable close. A massive flaw throughout this record is definitely the repetition of it all, but it works well once you get used to it. "Don't Belong" and "Sad Happy" appear mediocre at first glance because of it, but they only get better as they progress. But sometimes it's not even the repetition that holds it back.
"Cure My Tragedy", for example, is a fine song that suffers because of bad placement; it's meant to read like a letter to God, but it follows a track that's about telling your lady to (basically) go *** herself. The song is obviously about something meaningful, but sometimes Scooter's vocals underwhelm thanks to some lame, obvious post-production tampering. Both "Stupid Girl" and "Rain Song" fail to do anything memorable in-order to keep you invested because the lyrics feel like after-thoughts. Very cut-and-paste compared to some of the album's other, more thoughtful, heavy-hitters.
"Wasted Years" helps get the ball rolling again. It houses some of the best lyrics on the record, relating to alcoholism, shattered hopes, wasted opportunities and regret. The themes are handled extraordinarily-well and the instruments back it up to create a memorable song that leaves on the words "It's not hard to fail / It's not easy to win". Although "Wasted Years" is quite great, "Remedy" is one of the best album openers I've ever heard. So fast and ferocious in it's delivery that it immediately reels you in, plus it's complete with an incredibly defiant chorus and an earth-shattering build to it's final chorus. Probably the best song on the album.
With a better arrangement of songs, this album would have scored a notch higher than it stands but sometimes the pacing is... just... too... off. "Change The World" would have made a great follow-up for "Suffocate" and "Kill the Music Industry" would have followed up "Remedy" quite nicely, but, with the way things stand, some of the shifts in emotions are a bit too abrupt. Still, despite all of my gripes, the album does get much better in it's later-half. "Change The World" and "Black Sunday" prevail largely in part to catchy, meaningful lyrics. With strong tracks like those, the album does a fine job at remaining an engrossing experience.