Drowning In The Drowning Pool

Paradoxes are kind of funny. “Jumbo shrimp” and “civil war” are the ones that come to mind right away. Then we have Drowning Pool. No, not the name of the band, but their music. Metal bands are always walking that fine line between being polished and produced and being raw and honest. Enter bands like Drowning Pool and their latest self titled album. The fact of the matter is, when you tune your guitars down more than a half step, it’s really hard to not get a very sludgy and dirty sound. With the proper song writing and producer, it can be done, but it’s hard to do and even harder to do well. Sadly, I think with this effort, Drowning Pool only delvers on the “can do” as opposed to “can do well”.

The album has a lot of the DP signature sound. But on tracks like the opener “Let The Sin Begin”, there is just something that reeks of effort. Not like they were trying to write a good song, but that they were trying too hard to write a good song. The hook in the chorus is pretty good, but the lyrics and the whole song structure just scream of “pop song”. For what it is, it’s not bad, but for a band that has made one of the most memorable songs of the last decade “Bodies”, it falls pretty short. The song got my toe tapping and my head nodding, but I just can’t shake off the fact that there is something off about it…

“Horns Up” is about pretty much what you’d think it’d be about. It’s a call to arms for their fans and those in their musical community, kinda like how “Metal Milita” was to Metallica only…this song is kinda crap. Once again, there is something very forced and contrived. There has been a movement in “post grunge” era of music where bands who grew up with the outright angst and despair of grunge acts decided to take it another way and make something that’s feel good and slightly more upbeat. I think this is what this song and a lot of this album is about. Yes it’s dark and sludgy, but a lot of it is very carefree. This song is another one in the vein of “Let The Sin Begin”, pop for the sake of pop and hooks for the sake of hooks. Personally, I have no problem hearing this song, and I’m sure it comes off well live, but it’s not like “Sinner” and it’s not like “Tear Away”. It’s almost kinda dishonest to a degree and that’s totally NOT what people want in their music.

The last track of the album, “King Zero” didn’t really impress me all that much either. It’s a nice, mid-tempo rocker, but that’s about all it is. Even with the cool “Eastern” sounding solo in the middle of it, the song is really kinda flat. Once again, the band sounds like it’s trying to write a metal song, and it just fails horribly. And the projected 12,000 Drowning Pool is projected to sell in its first week is kind of an indication that my analysis is correct. Then again, the album’s first single, “Feel Like I Do” was used as background music  for NFL draft segments and commercials on ESPN, who wouldn’t be happy with writing a song that becomes background music ?! Cut the pop lyrics, cut the overproduced hooks and you guys might have something. These guys are walking close to the line that hair metal bands walked in the 80s, and if they aren’t careful, there is a really good chance that they could be seen as a laughing stock when all is said and done. No band wants that.