REVIEWS IN BRIEF: ONESIDEZERO, TYPE O NEGATIVE, CHEVELLE
MetalSucks takes a quick look at recent releases from Onesidezero, Type O Negative, and Chevelle. Read more after the jump.
Fans of early ’00s alt-metal will remember that there were not one (System of a Down), not two (Apex Theory), but in fact three (Onesidezero) Southern California bands with members of Armenian decent. Despite a large regional following and several national tours with hard rock and metal heavyweights, Onesidezero never achieved much widespread success. Their 2001 debut Is This Room Getting Smaller? and its lead single “New World Order” went largely unnoticed due to the inadequacy of their label Maverick, whose botched marketing campaigns are legendary in the industry. Still, the band showed they were adequately able to mix alt-metal/post-grunge songwriting with then-popular nu-metal riffage and guitarist Levon Sultanian’s own Amernian-infused influence. Six years later the band is back on Corporate Punishment Records. Again Onesidezero displays a variety of styles and dynamics, from the aggressive “Blondevil” and album opener “Carry Your Gun” to the balladesque “Levitations,” to straight up alternative rockers. The band still operates within the alt-metal songwriting template which makes for well-crafted songs, but thankfully they’ve dropped most of the screaming and borderline rapping that appeared on their first effort. Both Sultanian’s rhythm and lead parts are outside of the box, a rarity in this kind music, and the band has the chops to back him up. Lead single “Confessions” is the standout track, an upbeat song with metallic riffs that build into an undeniably catchy chorus. Aside from “Confessions,” though, there isn’t much in the way of great songs, though there are certainly several solid tracks. The downfall of this album is that the band doesn’t seem to have progressed too much from their earlier sound; it’s hard to imagine this album catching on in the musical climate of 2007, especially given that they don’t have much of an already established fan base to capitalize on. Nevertheless this is a fun listen with decent musicianship and some good tunes that alt-metal fans should enjoy.
(three out of five horns)
Chevelle, Vena Sera
I tried hard with Chevelle, I really did. I missed their independent debut, but picked up their first major label release Wonder What’s Next in 2002 on the strength of the lead single “The Red.” Aside from a couple of other decent tracks, what I got was a collection of songs that sounded like a bland combination of the music of Staind and vocals of Tool. In 2004 the band released This Kind of Thinking (Could Do Us In), but again there wasn’t too much aside from “The Clincher.” Fast forward to 2007, leading up to the release of Vena Sera; again I thought that maybe, just maybe this band could reach the potential they seemed to demonstrate at times and write something cool and truly original. Nope. There are a couple of solid tunes here, but big chunky proto-numetal riffage dominates the loud/soft/loud dynamic and the result is an album that mostly blends together from song to song. Chevelle fans will probably like this, but anybody wanting more… will get less. I officially toss in the towel on Chevelle.
(two out of five horns)
Type O Negative, Dead Again
Let me get this out of the way: I am not necessarily qualified to review a Type O Negative album. At best I’ve been marginally interested in the band, but they’ve always piqued my curiosity and I decided to check out Dead Again. This is a pretty solid album, and I think that most Type O fans will agree. It’s got everything you would expect from Peter Steele and co. There are some slow, creepy, sludgy-as-all-hell metal songs that make you want to crawl into bed and hide (“The Profit of Doom,” “She Burned Me Down”) and a few rockers like the title track and the brilliant stand out tune “Halloween in Heaven” that are easily as melodic as anything the band has done prior. When the band combines the slow/fast dynamic the results are stellar and never feel cliche or forced, as in “Tripping a Blind Man.” The music, of course, is all punctuated by Steele’s alternatingly high scowl and his so-low-it-makes-your-balls-rumble bass. The balladish (as far as Type O goes) “September Sun” is a nearly 10-minute epic that, while it has its moments, is sometimes difficult to follow; the 14+ minute “These Three Things” is another lengthy tune, but multiple listens make it extremely rewarding. This is a must-have for all Type O Negative fans, and is at least worthy of a listen for anyone else.
(four out of five horns)