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A bad influence rears its ugly head - 78%

Xeper, August 21st, 2003

This, in my opinion, is an unfortunate step down from Slave to the Grind. (I know Subhuman Race came in between, but I haven't heard that one yet.) First off, Johnny Solinger sounds pretty much just like Sebastian Bach, albeit without the operatic vocal acrobatics Bach was sometimes known for (Solinger has less range I guess, but he still sounds fine to me). The new drummer is quite competent and all, blahblahblah, now on to the music. The bluesy riffing is kept to a minimum, replaced by groovy riffing, often of the start-stop nature that drops out entirely during the verses, then the pre-chorus will be a start-stop groove thingy, and then a full-on rock/metal-type riff during the chorus, which can occasionally be catchy, but it sounds like they're sticking to a formula, because almost every other song on the album follows this pattern (and the other half of them are modern rock-influenced ballads, some of which wouldn't be out of place on albums by the Goo Goo Dolls and their ilk...no lie). The album isn't bad, per se. It has its moments, and some songs (New Generation, Thick is the Skin, Hittin' a Wall) rock quite hard in the vein of Slave to the Grind, especially Hittin' a Wall (great riff), catchy choruses and all. However, even these ones often fall prey to the whole stop-start lack of riffing during verses and whatnot, and the modern rock influence is frighteningly pervasive. Many of the ballad-esque melodic tracks (of which there are quite a few, alarmingly) found me sitting there listening to them, and realizing I wasn't always listening to metal. What a damn shame. Hopefully this is a passing phase.