Review Summary: Boring and generic, but not completely awful.
Unlike most others, I have a great amount of tolerance for generic, boring radio rock. Whenever I hear a Nickelback song on the radio, I don't have the urge to immediately change the channel (unless it's Photograph, because, damn, that is just unbearable). However, for some strange reason, many bands will try and copy the inane and completely stale formula used by Kroeger and Co., and this leads to many unnecessary copycats such as Hinder and Theory of a Deadman, whose fifteen minutes of fame occur for no justifiable reason. Among these Nickelback imitators are Pop Evil, a five-piece mainstream hard rock (a fancy word for generic) band from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Could Pop Evil finally turn the tide and end mainstream rock's bad reputation, or would they simply fall into the same trap that countless other rip-offs?
At first listen, Pop Evil's name sounds like it may be true. Their music is
nothing but stale hard rock, spreading evil across popular media. However, after repeated listens, it all comes clear. Pop Evil aren't over-the-top awful; they're just boring
, like every other mainstream rock. The only thing wrong about the album is how stale, boring and uncatchy it is. For evidence of this, look no further than lead single, "Trenches". The combination of faux-rap verses and forgettable choruses (a la Disturbed) adds up to an unmemorable song. With its boring hook, weak vocal performance, and the lack of rock being played on pop radio, don't expect "Trenches" to blow up the charts.
It’s that formula that plagues Pop Evil’s third album; the same formula that countless other knockoffs have used. It’s the formula that results in every song sounding the same (every band
sounding the same, to be honest), the formula that winds up doing all harm and no good. Pop Evil have fallen victim to this, and that was expected. No mainstream rock band can survive without being attacked by critics, hated by ex-fans or struggling to keep up with prior success.
And because of this wretched formula, Onyx
has some horrible, horrible songs. “Deal With the Devil” contains tons of cringe-worthy moments, including lead singer Leigh Kakaty’s many screams in the chorus. “Welcome to Reality” features a repetitive chorus and another instance of horrid screaming by Kakaty. “Torn to Pieces” is the closest to a ballad you’ll get on this album, and it’s a real snoozer, featuring cheesy lyrics and an over-used subject matter about a break-up.
Yet, for all the overblown, terrible mainstream rock that Pop Evil seem to offer, the rest of the album is surprisingly average, the only mistake made being that it is boring and forgettable. The middle of this album is actually pretty decent, with songs like “Divide” and “Beautiful” reminiscent of early Linkin Park (the former even has a riff similar to “From the Inside”). These songs may slip out of your head minutes after first listen, as they still aren’t catchy and are just plain boring, but at least they weren’t Hinder-level bad.
So in the end, Pop Evil’s third album is nothing more but a surprisingly average album. There are some stinker songs, but other than that, the album isn’t that bad, just boring. It isn’t a good album, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone I know, but it could have been way worse. There are no highlights in the album, and every song does sound the same after a while, yet, when the dust finally settles, this album can be summarized in just a few words: Forgettable, but not awful.