Review Summary: Forgettably written mainstream rock shlock.
This album may just confuse the hell out of you. At first when listening to this, it may appear as if to be a mainstream rock effort that actually works on some levels (if just simply average at best), however, with a good enough look inside, it hardly does much in making itself stand out from other mediocre mainstream rock albums from forgettable, wannabe bands like Seether; and all of their harmfully pampered rock-radio product for the masses. Harmless is a word that instantaneously comes to mind with an album like this, one that has little-to-no edge to it, thanks in large part to severely dumbed down lyrics and routine instrumental work. Where Seether may have fallen flat with more recent endeavours, at least they gave a couple of good swings earlier-on in their career (Disclaimer II
has some really enjoyable tracks especially)... unlike these guys. Add onto the laundry list of detractors an unimpressive vocalist, who never quite manages to find enough variety in his own voice to make this an interesting investment to begin with, and you have a very bland album left to endure.
"Blame Me" starts the fireworks in a bad way, the intro is unique (with possibly some violins or a weird synthesizer-type effect being used), but it's soon disappointed by a lackluster chorus and just plain poor writing in general. This and "Early Morning Anger" were inspired when the band were dropped by Geffen Records, which would have been great inspiration for a more aggressive effort, but weak detours in lines like this "I'm just another victim of your lies / Please forgive me"
make the front-man out to be a pathetic figure, as the song clumsily tosses around the idea of forgiving a person who is a supposed liar (and on-top of that is said to be abusive, with lines like "As I take another hit / I can't get any lower in your eyes"
adding clearly to that image). Other offerings like "Wasting Away" and "A Life That's Just Begun" continue to unimpress, and depress at the same token, but "Wasting Away" takes home the trophy for being the laziest track on the album (much like how bad films are awarded with Razzies nowadays instead of Oscars). It starts out with a very pedestrian acoustic guitar introduction that leads into the vocalist's quiet entry into the mix, which slowly increases in volume up to the terrible chorus ("I'm wasting away / Waiting for you again"
) where the same lines are annoyingly repeated "over-and-over-and-over-and-over again"
Overcooked writing packs this album with an awful lot of filler tracks that often assist in stretching the album's length to a slow, slithering crawl. Some may appreciate this style of pacing, it does work well in some tracks that arrive at the midway point of the album, but others will find it (overall) to be a bit too boring and generic to keep track of; it's obviously meant to pander to the radio-friendly market with it's repetitive, overly calculated progression from verse-to-chorus. Good songs are few and far between the messy arrangement, as well ("Early Morning Anger" is one of the better entries). "Hang On" opens up a little bit like Cold's "The Day Seattle Died" (it lacks the outstanding vocals and multi-layered writing that were present in Cold's fantastic entry), which works just fine, the lyrics in particular take a step-up in quality momentarily because of the relatable message, which the vocalist speaks directly to the listener. The chorus adds a touch of hope, with lines like "Things can only get better than this / So why can't you leave it all behind you"
, as the song itself focuses on letting go of past regrets.
Unfortunately the album could have used more songs like "Hang On", but "Clean the Slate" is definitely another strong song, however, as previously stated, there aren't enough good ones around to keep you invested all the way through. "Letting Go" helps break the momentum and is a depressing and boring way to close this album, unless your counting "Novocaine" in there as well (which is just as weak). The chorus meanders along as the front-man pouts his way around the affair, offering up such cheap, uneffective lines like "And I seem to have lost a thousand pounds / And I feel like I am weightless"
to drastically slow-down the pace for the worse. Continuing the boredom, from earlier on in the record, are the dynamic duo of "All I Have" and "Say", two more sappy songs about the singer's inability to let go of a former fling... wow. These songs are sheer torture, definitely the two worst tracks on the release (by far) in large part to the vocalist's sleepy performance.
I wish that things could be different
with the way that I feel about this dark-horse album, I used to find it to be an average experience, but now I just find it to be extremely dull thanks largely to lame writing that doesn't differ from each song. There's not enough diversity from song-to-song, so it makes the album feel really repetitious
(one of the worst offences for any album to commit). More variety from the vocalist's performance throughout would have been nice too, but it is simply nowhere to be found and his performance often detracts from whatever was tolerable in the first-place. With quite a bit more effort from the members themselves, this would have been an average effort at the very worst. As it stands however, this album is far below par thanks to uninspired instrumentals and unmemorable vocals, along with utterly tiresome lyrics.