Release DetailsLABEL Nuclear Blast
RELEASED ON 5/18/2004
The Other Side
posted on 8/2004 By:
So, tell me: what do you do when you are trying REALLY hard to be as metal as is humanly possible so you can impress all the other metalheads who read your reviews (lest they lose … er … respect?…for you) and you are doing a good job of being brutal and aloof yet somehow earthbound and populist…and you hear a record that pretty much ought to be instantly and forcefully dismissed just on principal… but you can’t? All your Nile loving, Iniquity and Nasum boasting is suddenly in serious danger of being washed away by MELODIC singing - REAL singing, and seriously melodic and accessible riffing. What is a “respected” internet metal reviewer (AAAhahahahahahaha) to do?
Face the shit. This is a damned catchy and well done record. It treads so closely to being TOO catchy and well made that if you are not paying attention you could dismiss it. Harmonized choruses, semi-melodeth riffing, mid paced, head banging drumming. No roaring, no gutturality, no screeching like a frozen dog on a bandsaw. Just simple, almost Alice in Chains-ish but actually mellower and more controlled vocals. And they work like a fucking charm. Mostly. When you are putting actual musicality into your vocals you are inviting harder and harsher criticism by default, especially in these days of cookie monsters and tortured mountain lions. So many fail so badly, come off as pretentious and heartless, it scares most singers away from pure singing. When you roarumble from the diaphragm no one knows how bad your singing might suck.
So, for the most part the vocals are on target. The music treads some strange path that skirts Katatonia, Porcupine Tree and maybe a more American style of melodeth without really matching any of the brilliance that you might wish for. Sort of a Euro-Sevendust. Not that it’s bad, but it’s just so much 2004 Toto or 38 Special - heavy rockish without the commitment. It can hit hard sometimes, but it can slather the syrup, too. It’s a fine line and unfortunately the songs sometimes fall over it. Believe it or not, the singer brings them back as often as not. He really saves this record, truth be told. The rest of the group might consider just cutting loose and trusting the songs more.
In the end, I think there is something worth recommending to this album. It’s MUSICAL metal that, while not mind blowing or fist pumping, is a great changup to blood spattered killing floors, frozen northern ice caves, integrity infested post straight edge wannabes and Viking helmet condoms. Be warned: this is a touchy record. You might just hate the shit out of it. Which would be predictable and average of you. If you do take a chance, you could very well be rewarded with something unexpected and, although easy to swallow, surprisingly filling. Grab an MP3 and see what you think. I am recommending it.
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