Review Summary: Drowning Pool has pushed the edges of their sound with Full Circle in a finely tuned, sharp edged metal album.
Death is a strange thing, especially for bands. Bands will go completely different ways after deaths of a band member, and what made Drowning Pool different is that they kept 'ticking on; and recruited a new lead singer, and released their sophomore album Desensitized
. That album was, albeit, a lot like their debut with a different lead singer. Rather boring, endlessly unvaried, and just rather winding and repetitive. They continued on, and in 2005, Jason 'Gong' Jones, the new lead singer departed from the band.
By this point, I would have said "screw this" and quit the band as well, but none of the other band members did; in fact what they did do is recruit yet another
new lead singer, Ryan McCombs. Unlike Jones, McCombs has his own style of singing, and has a heavy-metal 'esque' sound and feel to his voice, which adds depth that Drowning Pool hasn't had since the heavy metal screaming of the enraged dominating single from Sinner
. McCombs takes front stage in all of the songs, adding his unique, rough, heavy voice to all of the band's traditional heavy riffs.
But this time around, Drowning Pool has changed things up a bit instrumentally. They didn't want to attempt to recreate the heavy-metal blandness of Desensitized
, nor make the album feel like it was still led by Dave Williams. Out of these thirteen songs, the songs manage to vary from acoustic, to hard heavy-metal anthems without a blink of an eye; like the single Soliders
to the acoustic-led track Reborn
, Drowning Pool has managed to integrate acoustic guitars into their music very nicely, while keeping this album from coming off as a complete and total ballad-heavy borefest. Some of the songs give off an Alice in Chains-vibe, like in the song Reason I'm Alive
which takes advantage of McCombs' growling voice and the extreme rhythm changes, or Paralyzed
where the electric vibe in the back feels like a Jar of Flies
outtake, while keeping the modern, Drowning Pool heavy feel and sound.
Drowning Pool hasn't dropped their heavy metal side by any means though, there's plenty guitar riff-heavy metal-oriented tracks in abundance here like Enemy
which manages to sum up how much they've changed and how much better they are now then they were with Sinner
, or No More
which has a White Zombie-esque distorted verse vocal track and a chorus littered with furious screams. They've also managed to integrate a cover of Billy Idol's Rebel Yell
in astounding success by adding a heavy metal charm to a track that was never meant to be played as low and with as much screaming as Drowning Pool adds to it is astoundingly perfect and makes the song feel like its the original; not the cover.
You really can't deny Drowning Pool's ability to get over adversity; and it seems Drowning Pool has finally found their niche, with Full Circle
. The Alice in Chains-esque tracks like Reason I'm Alive
manage to keep this album completely varied and keeps it as a nice listen that will keep your attention for the whole album without even a thought of boring you. And even with all the new instrumental work, Drowning Pool's best new talent is Ryan McCombs, who's grueling, growling, and heavy voice makes the band seem completely interesting and keeps you addicted; his screams are perfect for the style, while his growls in the verses just completely make the songs all together. You may not be able to believe it, but Drowning Pool has finally set themselves apart from the rest of the metal bands out there today, and may end up making a name for themselves after all.
Reason I'm Alive