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4 out of 10
I'm confused. In the sleeve for this CD, there's a quick attempt at some highbrow literary stuff, which I think might be about an apocalyptic future and religion covering for persecution and totalitarianism (although I was a C-student in English, so what do I know), the bio for the band states that they've toured with the Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden and Mastodon, and have influences ranging from the Beatles, through the Misfits, to Clutch. But despite all that, pretty much all I hear when I play the CD is some occasionally interesting nu-grunge-metal that was still well on its way out five years ago.
The guitar sound is the best place to start. Remember the start of 'Break Stuff', with Wes Borland playing a chord then stopping it dead a few times? Well, these guys use that quite a lot throughout this album, with what should be a big, meaty tone, but that has been so over-polished it ends up actually quite sterile. The vocals don't help either. Imagine your average dark and brooding metalhead vocalist, being quite restrained but obviously seething, then occasionally exploding in self-righteous and over-emotive fury. Scott Stapp, that dude out of Soil, David Draiman... you get the picture.
I should qualify the 'occasionally interesting' comment from above though. 'Pucifer' starts with a decent QOTSA-like riff, and 'Century' has enough Southern swagger to excuse the big dumb fun shtick. Then there is the closing one-two punch of 'Black Horse' and 'Dirty Heshan', which if they had opened the album might have put me in a better frame of mind and actually got them a better score. The title track ups the southern doom quotient, slowing everything down below the mid-paced tedium of the rest of the album, so that it finally achieves a sense of heaviness. Meanwhile the album closer goes the other way, speeding up and throwing in some frankly excessive drumming, becoming worth it for just being so over the top compared to the rest of the album.
Probably just one for a few selective downloads on your favourite online MP3 store then.
1. One in a Million
7. Mexican Fireplace
9. Summer Set
10. Black Horse
11. Dirty Heshan