by Scott Hefflon
More! Take everything you love and hate about nü metal roar, industrial coldness, sample-driven electronic dance music, and Goth metal tenderness/shredding and turn everything up to 11. As with the Spinal Tap reference, it’s more dumb luck than genius, and I bet Mushroomhead wear all those Slipknot/Mudvayne costumes to hide their drooling, hanging-open mouths. You can add first-year Phantom of the Opera keyboards to dull metal trudge all ya want and all you get is bad Ministry, and they’re pretty bad themselves these days. But keep throwing in elements like near-black metal keys, a few vocal styles (two singers, neither very good, though the beginning of “The New Cult King” had me reaching for the booklet to see if Faith No More/Fantômas vocal pioneer Mike Patton actually contributed a vocal here: Nope), and techno beats (aside from Fear Factory, few have actually used techno beats, though The Mad Capsule Markets are finally getting U.S. distro and they used digital hardcore/Atari Teenage Riot beats to amazingly creative results), and you’re brushing against greatness. While I still prefer Stuck Mojo, Dark Tranquillity, Therion, Meshuggah, the aforementioned Faith No More and The Mad Capsule Markets, and classic Pantera/Slayer roar, shit, many casual metal fans don’t have every goddamn record by each of these bands and dozens more, and don’t know what else to compare this to. So while skimming many surfaces and never really digging too deeply and making any actual headway in any one sound or style, there’s A LOT here to boggle at. And that’s all you can really ask for in these times of interchangeable angry bands in silly outfits.