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Cheesy modern bullshit - 32%

UltraBoris, April 20th, 2003

Haven't I heard this before? And much better done on albums like Reinventing the Steel. Here they take the worst aspects of Pantera (silly Vulgar Display and Far Beyond shit) and throw in some crap a la Machine Head and come up with some rather weak songs. Yes, this is occasionally heavy. No, it isn't good. And yes, there are some mallcore moments too, and even some random hip-hop/techno parts! However, there are the occasional good moments too. So it's not a complete loser - but almost.

First song... What Doesn't Die. What a schizophrenic little song. Some cool riffs, and at times there is a nice headbanging groove, but the chorus just fucking sucks - especially the guitar tone underneath it, and John's horrible articulation. Very forced-sounding. Also, the lead guitar is crap - I have no idea who's doing the leads on this album (Charlie?) but he's gotta stop trying to be a weakened version of Dime Darrell. But the verses are cool, with the nifty rhythm guitar underneath it.

Superhero... this was advertised as a return to Among the Living days. Hah, fucking hah! Check out that really dumb vocals-driven verse passage. Mallcore, kids. Not quite as whiny as Korn, but this is still really fucking shitty. Also, the chorus is again a total miss. Yelling one syllable at a time does not work. Pray! For! Help! Cry! Whatever... dumb effects hurt this one badly as well, as does the general vocals-oriented mix. Scott's rhythm guitar can still be quite good at times, but it is buried very badly in the mix. The final chorus before the middle part is better, because they throw in more lyrics - and the middle section is pretty decent. But again, the solo fucking sucks. This makes Jeff and Kerry sound like the epitome of technicality. Bring back the Jesusboy watchmaker, I say!

Refuse to Be Denied... little "cute" intro, then an entirely forgettable riff, and then the verses are totally vocals-oriented. Not quite mallcore, but still this is shit. At least it builds up to a nice pre-chorus and an acceptable chorus. "I stand and resist!" But the second guitarist comes and fucks everything up with his dweebish noodling. So far, this is the best song on here, though, because after the first stupid intro verse, it doesn't stop having a continuous riff basis. Plus the middle section is well done, with a nice riff around 2.26 - though I think I'm not the only one that thinks it would work better if it were played at 140% speed. So far this is very slow, very laid back, and missing on some serious aggression. Blood or One Man Stands, this is not.

Safe Home. Hmm, this is such a cheesy song, but why does it work so well for the first few seconds? A little bouncy riff that is bordering on self-parody... oh but it totally falls apart around 0.37 where I suddenly feel like I'm listening to Creed. Bring back the riff. Another schizophrenic little song, with two really bad choruses. It kinda builds up halfway through, though - and that lead guitarist finds approximately one testicle. Hey, it's better than what he had before, and this section harkens back to the Sound of White Noise era. Pretty decent solo when all is said and done, but they should have totally knocked off the first two choruses and done the entire song in the style of the third chorus.

Any Place But Here - little acoustic intro, and then - a great fucking guitar riff!!! Then, the drums come in and kill it. Plodding drums to fuck over that nifty riff - good job, Charlie. Then a far more ordinary groove riff, and we get into a fairly standard modern Anthrax number. But hey, the chorus actually kinda works. Come on, come on! Sounds like a White Noise era chorus. Unfortunately the middle section just drones on and the cool guitars of the intro just turn into yet another lame "solo" that goes nowhere and silly vocals, and then another slightly better solo that is still kinda crappy. This would be the best song on here, but for the shitty middle part. Still, though - what a boring song.

Nobody Knows Anything... kinda crappy intro riff leads into a slightly better one that would be even better if it didn't pause once every second, and if the second guitarist wasn't fucking around with some stupid effect in the background. Then the part under the vocals - more groove-stuff a la a Pantera album. The chorus would be pretty cool if the drums weren't so mixed so fucking high in the mix and so annoying - and that part after the chorus, that's total fucking hip hop bullshit. Seriously, listen around 1.07 in the song - that is not fucking heavy metal. Yeah kids, let's take the hiphop back. Decent solo, okay riff underneath it, but seriously, someone beat Charlie over the head and turn his drums down a few notches, because they are highly annoying.

Strap It On... hey, now here's a nice opening riff - cut right to the chase and here's the first verse, and the pre-chorus is pretty nice too. Take me back to a golden time!! Unfortunately, the chorus is very shitty. There's the mallcore "strap it on! strap it on! strap it on!" jump-teh-fukk-up segment and the boring endless repetition segment. This song has nothing to do with old school, really. Man, they just can't write an entire song that's a winner - gotta throw in some loser passages every once in a while just to keep the fanbase miffed. Decent solo section too - if it weren't for the really uninspired chorus this would be decent.

Black Dahlia - this is supposed to be the br00tal s00ng of the alb00m. Starts off pretty nice (well, after seven seconds of random shit). The verses are very driven, and remind me nicely of Fueled. Then... around 0.32. What the fucking shitweasel, Batman?? What was that? Someone spliced in some pure noise!! Fucking shitty drums and distorted vocals. Some mallcore/grindcore bastard child. It's like someone decided to have a practical joke at the band's expense and spliced in random segments because that section just doesn't make any sense - not in the context of the verses or the chorus. Cool chorus too, and man those verses are pretty fucking great. Middle section is very short and understated and then one final chorus. There's a good song here, too bad someone sabotaged the final production version.

Cadillac Rock Box - dumbfuck "mighty fine grooving going on on this record here" intro. What the fuck - is this an advertisement for the people like me that have only the mp3s? "Buy the album!" Then an okay riff, but the whole thing gives me a vibe of Black Crowes or something similar. It gets better around 0.52 but is still kinda mediocre. They cranked the "groove" up to ungodly new levels, but they threw out the riffs in the meantime.

Taking the Music Back. Okay here we go, here's an intro riff that is worthy. Worthy of Sound of White Noise that is... Spreading the Disease this is not. Oh no, then the verses, and man this is utter shit! No kids, no no no no! That is not how to do a verse passage. Another borderline mallcore segment, especially with the distorted yes-man backing vocals that kinda repeat certain lines only talking out of a prosthetic ass. Okay chorus, I guess. Again, there is nothing overtly spectacular on this album. Some cute sections that don't abjectly suck, but nothing here that totally fucking completely rules. Man this band has gone so far down the shitter that they've dug a hole to China. Stupid middle section will not be acknowledged, especially with the weak-ass solo.

Crash. What the fuck in the name of all that is sacred?? This is pure fucking mallcore here, that's all I gotta say about this one. Utterly fucking worthless.

Think about an End. Yay, finally. Sounds like a good thing to think about, because here's yet another vocals-driven shit passage, with the guitars barely there and playing an eminently forgettable riff. Finally, the rhythm is brought to the forefront... and another eminently forgettable riff. Guys, quit ripping off half the Machine Head catalogue, this is shit! The drums are again way too loud under the verses, the guitars not doing anything worthwhile, and the vocals are left to carry the song. But hey, the chorus is, ironically enough, the best part of the song. The middle section is cool too - now here's some actual riffage! This one almost, but not quite, could be considered thrash! "Where is all the mercy???" Fuck, why did they wait this long to throw this in? This is total White Noise, and almost, almost!! could be State of Euphoria.

Ah well... can't win 'em all. Give me the new Overkill any day - they're the first, and at this rate, they'll be the last..... Anthrax has gone by the wayside. (And seen a few.) The overall verdict - boring as fuck. There really isn't anything that grabbed me by the genitals and forced me to kill my neighbour. Sorry. Black Dahlia almost did, but just when it was getting good, they threw in that joke of a grindcore interlude. Seriously - these guys are suffering from "too many dumb interludes" syndrome. The very last few minutes of the album - Think About an End - are the very best thing they've done since Sound of White Noise, but otherwise it's a loser.