Review Summary: An excellent album from one of the most praiseworthy yet unknown hard rock/nu metal bands of the early 2000's
Showcasing many positive aspects of a fusion of nu metal and hard rock, New Jersey's 40 Below Summer had several great EP's and 2 excellent LP's worth of material before breaking up. Chances are most Sputnikers haven't heard the band and the nu metal tag might be enough to make you stop reading here. Make no mistake, this band is far from the generic nu metal/hard rock prevalent on the radio waves in the early years of the decade.
opens the record on a weak note. One of the most generic tracks on the record, the lyrics are boring, the riffs recycled and the guitar stay within the 0-3 fret range. A few bass solo's save the song from being complete trash. Taxi Cab Confession
kicks off the 2nd track with a driving bassline and (unfortunately) spoken word vocals from singer Max Illidge. As the song swings into the chorus however, the listener is instantly grabbed by the unique tone and range of Max's delivery.
One of the highlights of the band is his one of a kind voice, not to be heard anywhere else in music with a somewhat nasal yet powerful style. When Max screams (which isn't very much on this record compared to Invitation to the Dance
), he does a great job. Rain
is one of the best tracks on the CD with a complex drum rythym and a bassline audible throughout the song.
Guitarists Joey and Jordan experiment throughout the cd with tremolo and chorus effects, used mainly in the verses to a pleasing effect. One slight detraction from the record is the overly polished, drop B riffs used mainly in the chorus's. As a guitarist myself, the lack of diversity in the riffing department is somewhat of a disappointment. Single finger chords permeate the choruses as a backdrop to many tracks. There is also a serious lack of lead guitar riffage to take centre stage. On a whole however, every member of the band works together to create catchy, melodic and memorable songs.
The highlight of thealbum is Monday Song
, a track with simple drum patterns and guitar work but its so damn catchy
you'll find yourself singing along for days after. As you might guess by the name of the album, lyrical themes of depression, addiction and desperation are strung througout. F.E
is the heaviest track on the album featuring Christian Machedo of Ill Nino
fame. This track is purely pissed off aggression, fantastic harsh vocal work and excellent double bass are prevalent.
Two of the more forgettable tracks on the record are Awakening
. Terrible lyrics and melodies make these songs utterly discardible. The last song A Season in Hell
is arguably the standout on the album, featuring the most tortured vocals and lyrics Illidge possesses only to break into one of the most beautiful outro's ever heard. The song shifts from rejection to hope, with an epic and uplifting ending to The Mourning After
A great fusion of everything ugly and admirable in humanity, The Mourning After
is a record worth listening to from an era of music many of us wouldn't mind forgetting.