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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Five Pointe 0

Untitled

Review by Arnold Hablewitz

Coolness - as Joliet, IL is now firmly on the musical map with this, a 6-piece metal band comprised mostly of kids just out of or finishing high school. Kicking around for only a few years, the band has already honed a surprisingly mature sound while still retaining that youthful energy and attitude that the nu-metal genre is known for. It is ambient, yet brutal, melodic yet aggressive, and versatile yet simple, which all in all makes for a very interesting and fulfilling listen.

To try and do the "this band sounds like..." comparison thing to further interest and intrigue you readers out there, would not do this band justice...but I'll do it anyway! Take Mushroomhead, make it only one vocalist who is just extremely versatile, take away the gimmick factor, and multiply the seriousness and emotional influence by ten. Also, add a decidedly nu-metal formula to it, with lots of groove and simple-yet-highly-effective riffing. The vocalist in particular is a good indication of just how truly versatile this band as, as he goes from Zach dela Rocha-influenced rapping/singing to typical Moreno-meets-Anselmo screaming, and then all the way to death metal growls. The music is thrust forward by excellent drumming chock full of double-bass, and cool interplay with the guitars that utilizes the fact that there are in fact two of them to the fullest. There are also keyboards in abundance that I'd liken to those of the band Soilwork...no soloing, just there to add texture, dynamics, and atmosphere on top of the riffs.

This is highly recommended for those who'd like a little something different, yet still accessible enough for the average Joe to get into.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2002 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Double X Minus
This has got a really awesome heavy riff right off the starting gates, with a neat little keyboard texture underneath it (something which will be seen throughout the CD). The vocals tend to shift between the RATM-inspired singing and some decent guttural growling - good start!
King of the Kill
I've heard this song on the 2-track demo I've had for a couple years now, but it's easy to see they've improved on it by adding some seriously ambient and atmospheric textures, and a more steady drumbeat throughout the song. It has a nu-metal groove to it in spots as well, and a cool double-bass breakdown in the bridge. This is very melodic!
Art of Cope
This has groove-infested riffing right off the bat, with lots of octaves; one guitar supplying the melody and the other just giving a chug-chug heavy rhythm part underneath. Unfortunately, it is one of the more boring cuts on the disc, but still just as versatile as shown by the clean (not to mention epic-sounding) middle section.
Purity 01
Cool tribal drumbeats and chanting intro this tune, with spoken-word poetry in the verses and very cool interplay between the guitars and the keys. It leads into some serious death metal growling and the heaviest riff on the CD!
Freedom?
I like this one mainly because of the cool chorus with screaming and a lengthy "FREEEEEEDOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!", but also for the galloping riff that begins the outro.
Sympathetic Climate Control
This could be the equivalent of the "power ballad" for this band, with a quieter verse, actual singing not unlike Chino from the Deftones (yet still with vocalist Daniel Strubble's soon-to-be-signature style), and a somewhat heavy chorus and a slow-to-balls-out bridge section.
Untitled
A faster, balls-out (like -insert-Equal-Vision-recording-artist-here-) riff opens this song with brutal riffage and screaming vocals, going to a groovier refrain. It is an awesome song to follow the quieter preceding track.
Syndrome Down
This is one of the few "filler tracks" on here in my opinion. Sure it has a super-melodic chorus with a nice hook and slightly faster nu-ish groove to the bridge, but that can't carry the song alone.
Breathe Machine
"Breathe Machine" is true-to-the-bone nu-metal, with an awesome heavy groove in the riffing and a steady rap tone in the verses that actually sounds good with the music.
The Infinity
This one is currently this reviewer's favorite because of the double-bass-filled and ambient verses which are just the most amazing little hook. You can't help but get sucked in by this song.
Aspire, Inspire
One of those really ambient (and almost entirely instrumental) outros that some bands tend to utilize just to get it out of their system (Mudvayne and Limp Bizkit have utilized this), it sort of picks up as the song goes along (11 minutes), and after a while the vocalist comes in to add to the ambiance with some female-like chants and whatnot. It's just a rather cool little outro.
 
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