Cold – 13 ways to bleed on stage – 4/5
So a post-grunge band that may have become well known in the states – I honestly have no idea. I know they weren’t big over here, and know that if anyone deserved it, these should have been at the top of pile. Unlike the majority of bands hitting the big time, this isn’t a band that accepts mediocrity. Each track is different yet consistently good, resulting in an album without filler. There’s a very good chance if you don’t like one track, you won’t like the album.
Perhaps quite shocking is the fact that this album is directed by Fred Durst, the same man who quite notably formed the abomination known as Linkin Park, but of late his other work has impressed me. Not only his work with this band, but his acting work in “population 436.” Granted, the film wasn’t particularly good but his ability to act far surpassed anything I could have expected. Don’t underestimate his talents, just because they weren’t apparent in his own band.
The actual musicianship of the individual members is not the focus here. It’s the emotion they manage to create – A constant depressive grinding post-grunge tone, overwhelming in its simplicity, yet completely unique and at no point does it feel monotonous. The guitars are largely chord based, with basic riffs, the bass is used to emphasise certain notes, rather than as a simple case of following the guitar, and the drumming provides a basic beat, but is otherwise of little note.
The vocals however, are something else. Not quite grunge in the sense of Cobain’s drunken gargle, not hard hitting as in rock, and not melodic like pop, rather a weird mix of all three. Sometimes hard edged in their tone, sometimes lazy in the sense of half-finishing his snarled words, perfectly unique, and without a doubt key in the production of their unique sound. This is unbridled and raw emotion, the guitars are used to emphasise aggression, apocalyptic themes (‘End of the world’) and suicidal depression (‘Bleed’)
I have no idea if they got well known. Perhaps they became well-known and mistaken for another band trying to milk the last of a dying genre. Perhaps they never even got well known. Either way, this is a band that seems to have been underestimated.
Highlights: End of the World, Anti-Love Song, Bleed
Cold – Year of the Spider – 4/5
Building on previous work, this is much of the same with a few key differences. Firstly, everything has a more commercial sound, a greater mainstream appeal. Sweeping guitar intros, the level of clarity in the vocals have increased, and the chorus’ all seem to be made for those who like them catchy. The emotion once again makes itself known for all, but I for one miss the vocal diversity, at no point reaching that lazy drawl giving the impression of insignificance, that its not worth it, or on the other end of the spectrum the hard rock/punk influenced angry yelling.
Despite this knock to the vocal work, the guitars take over a more prominent part, playing more recognisable and varied riffs. The drumming is louder in the mix, and once again seems to be slightly more interesting and creative. The chorus’ as previously mentioned, are far more catchy – none more so than that of “The Day Seattle Died” – and the variation in the tracks seems greater, featuring two more aggressive tracks, which is the closest we see to the old punk vocals, coming in the form of Suffocate and Remedy, the ballad track (this time in the form of ‘Wasted Years’), and the rest adhering much more to the happy medium between the two sides.
Featuring a number of other instruments at times, notably violins and cello’s to add to the atmosphere, as well as a great variety in the guitars, from acoustic to heavily distorted, deep, heavy and chord based to the lighter, higher pitched riffs. This is an album that succeeds in matching their debut. The departure of the vocal range is replaced by a greater diversity in the other instruments. The preference of album should be different for each person, depending which they prefer. Personally, I miss the vocals too much. In either case, this is an album still worth grabbing if you’re a fan of post-grunge.
P.S. I started writing a review for their latest album, “A different kind of pain” but quickly realised I could sum it up in two words. Don’t bother.
Cold – Cold – 2.5/5
So completely unknown to me until I did the research for this review, they actually had a self-titled album before all the others. As expected, the snarling post-grunge sound is more prevalent than ever, with the vocalist’s distinctive tone making things harder than ever to understand, constantly giving that lazy depressive feel. It is too much though. The tone is good, the emotion behind it superb, but any strength the lyrics may have possessed disappears, and given the comparatively basic guitar work compared to some music, this results in a sound that can often fade into the background.
The bass has taken a very prominent role, providing a deep bass line, giving an almost sludge feel to the music. Whilst not a bad thing, this deep and heavily distorted prevalent sound, combined with the drunken grunge vocals leads to a monotonous tone. The guitars often find themselves doing little, and far more I felt could have been done with them. Only the three ‘ballad’ tracks adding variety to the album, in particular “Strip her down” has a harrowing tone, but isn’t enough.
This album gives a strong indication of the band that is to come, but for a debut finds itself lacking. Despite the presence of nothing specifically bad, nothing draws me in. Nothing makes me particularly enthused, and no track seems a cut above the rest. More for those who love to complete their collection than the rest.
Highlights: Go Away, The Switch, Strip Her Down
By T. Bawden