Review Summary: Although the vocalist may not be the best screamer ever, and the musicianship can be rather artless at times, this is a riff-packed, fun, speaker-wrecking album.
Hailing from Ohio, Mushroomhead is an alternative metal/industrial metal band which originated in the early to mid-90’s, with their self-titled debut Mushroomhead
. Since then, their sound and lyrical output have improved dramatically, with the exception of a few unwise decisions and rough mistakes made by the group. Given their credibility over the years, they’ve spawned numerous hit-singles that have remained glued into place for the bands (such as ones like ‘Crazy’, ‘Sun Doesn’t Rise’ and arguably their best song, ‘Solitaire Unraveling’). Even though this album isn’t a huge departure from the rest of their albums, it’s a nice addition from the band; instrumentally and lyrically substantial, if you will. Besides some minor flaws, this is a constantly re-listenable and diverse album.
The musicality is something very delightful here, with a wide spreadsheet of different tempos, and a sleek combination of both aggressiveness and mellowness. . Essential features with this album are the pianos, which are scooted in many songs to give it emotion and a haunting center. The most prominent song I can think of that implements the most culminating use of the piano is ‘One More Day’, a softer, more somber tune from the masked men that tells the tale of regret and longing, mostly with lyrics such as “You take me higher…..to the lowest place yet………..One more day to regret
.” This shows the band can tell wonderful stories into songs and are not afraid to express themselves. As a sprinkled touch, a female-vocalist pops into play on the chorus, giving it more symbolism and emotional anguish that altogether creates a bittersweet feeling.
Looking back at the rest of their discography, and even their latest abomination called Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children
, the lyrical delivery was pretty bland, uninspired, and just feeble-minded. But this time, though, the lyrics have improved and they are more proficient and intelligent. With this could come a more positive listening experience which I’m sure will be a great charm to most people. They have brilliant storytelling with this album, instead of just pointless rambling and angst as seen from their other installations. I’m not going to lie to you though, there are definitely angst-ridden and temper-swirling songs here, but they are more energetic and not so uninteresting. Lyrically, the vocalist has more of a darker-tinged side with this record, serving as a more shadowy album with a more heavvier edge
The vocalist, on the other hand, merits the biggest disappointment with the album. While his clean styled vocals are surprisingly harmonized well, his screamed vocals are nauseously bad and quite redundant. There’s little variation with them and after a while they start to sound horrid and monotone. ‘The Dream is Over’ relates to this negative connotation as the vocalist constantly uses his painfully rough voice on this track, and without any real use of clean vocals to balance it out, you get a jobless effort. However on tracks such as ‘Kill Tomorrow’ and the hit single ‘Sun Doesn’t Rise’, his skillful fresh voice begins to really show in detail, and this arrangement unquestionably marks an optimistic view for the songs. Both songs have that chunky, loud riff that is a major standout for Mushroomhead and this album in general. Fortunately though, his bleakish voice isn’t located through a lot of this album, and eventually diminishes through the latter half, making it relatively insignificant and nothing terribly unappealing.
This album is essential for the outlook of Mushroomhead, and is a great portrait to add to your collection. Even though the vocalist has monotone-tendencies with rotten screams and yells, the musicianship and their instrumental proficiencies make up for the lousy spots. While the album itself might be at times simple rather than technical, XIII
is an entertaining album set for any metalhead or any general person.
Sun Doesn’t Rise
One More Day
Our Own Way