Review Summary: A definite step back for the band as a whole, it just doesn't have the same panache as the first album did. Still worth checking out though if you like them.
Ah Skrape...these guys never really had a chance. They came at a time when NuMetal was dying out, I guess they didn't get the memo. Their first album New Killer America which I also reviewed while quite good just didn't sell very well. Then a couple years later they decided to release Up The Dose their 2nd efford. It appears to me that something went seriously wrong with this band between 2001 and 2003. Apparently they just said screw it or maybe it was the changing music trend at the time that threw them through a loop. Either way their sound definitely suffered quite a bit between the two releases.
The albums starts out positively enough with Bleach and it's Middle Eastern style guitar opening. It also gets rocking a little bit later in the song. This song is not great or anything, but it's a decent enough starter to make you want to listen on. After that you are met with Summer Song which just fails to stand out in anyway. Now my biggest problem here is Skrape did it again! They used one of the worst tracks on the album as their single. It's not terrible, but its bland as all hell save towards the end of it when it picks up a tad. Then we are met with the title track Up The Dose. Now this song is definitely catching and I do enjoy it quite a bit. It's got a nice basic chuggy riff throughout the song and even a nice little guitar solo at the end which was nice. However the lyrics to this song are terrible, mainly the chorus " UP THE DOSE! AND GET ME HIGHER AND HIGHER!" It's pretty weak really, but if you can look past that this song rocks. After that we are greeted with my personal favorite song on the track In The End. It's a semi-heavy somber sounding song with a nice guitar riff throughout, and a FAR SUPERIOR chorus to any other song on this album. The vocals are also very well done. The only problem is this song is clocks in at 2:57. That is pretty short for such a good song with powerful lyrics like this. I just don't get why they didn't add another verse maybe a nice guitar solo.
Then we are on to My Life another personal favorite of mine on the album. It has a very nice heavy riff through out the song and we even see some funky sounds off the guitar towards the end. It also has a very catchy chorus however here we are again this song is even shorter than My Life at only 2:55. What the hell guys" It just seems like a cop out to me for some reason. I Can't Breathe is a pretty good song too, but it can drag a bit through parts of it. It does have a nice chorus and the vocals are pretty stellar. However the rest of the band didn't seem to get let off their leashes in this one and fail to do anything too impressive. It's pretty much the same pace and beat the whole song which sounds pretty plain compared to their older stuff. Next we have Ocean which is a pretty heavy song! However this time we have the opposite problem as the last song. The band is rocking, but Billy's vocals sound like *** honestly. He fails to sync with the instruments and he kind of runs the song into the ground, and will probably have you push the skip button as soon as he starts singing. It's a shame really though cuz the song kind of rocks. He does somewhat make up for it at the end and he brings back his normal vocals and the pace changes. Now why the hell didn't he use that voice throughout the song"
Searching for Home was a valiant effort and even has some nice sounding acoustic guitar. However Billy kind of just sounds pretty flat throughout the song. I can appreciate the lyrical content but this song is just boring as hell to listen to in all honesty. It does change pace and redeem itself somewhat in the latter half, but the problem is you have to listen to the rest of the song first. Next we are introduced to Syrup a very nice little tune that reminds me of something from their first album. We are greeted with some nice spidery sounding guitar and bass riffs, and a catchy little drum beat. This is song has a really nice build up and the vocals are very good. This is definitely the best song on the album, but not my personal favorite if that makes any sense. Habit has a nice heavy flow to it, but again Billy's voice just doesn't have any punch to it to make this song interesting in the least, it's just sort of there and doesn't go anywhere. No Respect closes out the album and I dig this song it has a nice drumming intro and a nice moshy sound to it. The vocals in this are much better than some of the less memorable tracks.
I know it sounds like I really like this album (and admittedly I do) I have to give it a fair rating on one simple fact. The vocals just do not have the enthusiasm they once did. This was definitely a step back for the band, because their first album was so good. I feel they lost a lot of their unique sound that they had in New Killer America. Syrup was probably the only song that has a shred of their old sound. It's still a good album, and I know I rated it a two but after giving it another listen I believe it deserves a bit better score than that. There are some really good moments if you dig around in here and look a bit. RIP Skrape!
In The End