Release DetailsLABEL Crash Music
RELEASED ON 6/28/2005
Mental Care Foundation
posted on 9/2005 By:
I like Pantera as much as the next guy. That is, unless that guy happens to be in Mental Care Foundation. The debut from these Finns delivers a thrashy groove metal so familiar that they may have well named the album Far Beyond the Vulgar Steel Cowboy Trend. Now, I acknowledge that there is nothing new under the sun, and that listeners tend to have inconsistent tolerance for highly derivative bands, but to these ears Mental Care Foundation is simply a solid band playing maddeningly average metal. It’s not like these guys are just some teens equipped with no more than hoodies and a Far Beyond Driven door poster; all four are in, or have been in other bands, including Sonata Arctica, Requiem, Silent Voices, Painflow, and Mortyfear. According to their bio, the guys are old friends and drinking buddies who, while reminiscing about Pantera, Testament, and Slayer, talked about forming a cover band. After jamming they began working on original material. The band’s bio mentions liquor/drunkenness no less than seven times, revealing a Tankard-like appreciation for spirits. How wildly outrageous and unique–a band that loves to drink, and also loves to talk about how much they love to drink.
Regardless of their lack of originality, Mental Care Foundation have the technical ability to string together a satisfactory set of chunky riffs and rhythms, and in small doses the band is enjoyable and sometimes impressive. The musicianship is solid, and guitarist Antii Hokkala’s skilled and tasteful solos add some class and color. L. L. Thruster, better known as keyboard player Henrik Klingenberg, has a gruff vocal delivery that is somewhat reminiscent of Phil Anselmo’s lower registered growl. But Thruster doesn’t have a quarter of the range of Anselmo, and consequently his vocals become monotonous and frequently drag. The thing is, a lot of fans would look the other way on the derivative metal and limited vocals if the band’s songs were consistently engaging and impressive. Unfortunately, they range from good to a little less than average, sometimes within the same song. Opener "Headtrip", the verse of "All the Same" and the Texas-fried slide guitar in the otherwise tepid "Down the Line" are a few of the highlights. There aren’t really any songs that are consistently bad, but most have a blemish or two. If you’re a big fan of groove and don’t mind such unabashed Pantera worship, Alcohol Anthems may be worth checking into, but Mental Care Foundation needs to shore up their songwriting and develop some personality if they hope to rise above mediocrity.
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