CD Reviews

Drowning Pool - 'Drowning Pool' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 21, 2010    
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Listenable, but ultimately mindless slice of squeaky-clean, All-American fun.

A decade of trials and tribulations has evidently made its mark on these former nu-metal monsters, who are presently peddling an altogether more accessible sound. Having been nip-tucked into stadium rock perfection, Drowning Pool’s early venom arguably died with former vocalist Dave Williams. Now armed with the gravel-throated talents of Soil frontman Ryan McCombs, the quartet are enjoying chart success most recently witnessed in explosive single ‘Feel Like I Do.’ Plucked from the band’s self-titled album, the anthemic ‘Feel…’ smacks of pure chemistry and a definitive style that looks set to take the UK by storm.

But the fact remains that Drowning Pool’s appeal is lodged in a generic combination of party anthems and power ballads, which, despite its crowd-pleasing scope, positively oozes big-budget US rock. Replete with arena chants and glittering hooks, the album’s more upbeat offerings are virtually identical from minimalist song structures to token power metal solos. The energetic likes of ‘Let The Sin Begin’ deliver an intense but short-lived burst of adrenalin that wanes with each repetitive minute. Something of an aggressive wildcard, ‘All About Me’ is tinged with a ghost of 2000 hit ‘Bodies,’ unveiling a violent marriage of meaty riffs and spiralling bass.

Adding further clichés, the album’s rock-star-getting-clean theme treads overly familiar territory, but it’s nevertheless forged from brutal honesty. Capturing unbridled pain, ‘More Than Worthless’ is a deliciously chaotic mix of bluesy acoustics and ghostly, distorted guitars. As McCombs snarls, ‘I’m down to one last cigarette,’ in his rich Indiana drawl, there’s no mistaking the raw emotion at the heart of his rasping verses. As witnessed in Drowning Pool’s stadium rock moments, the power ballad formula is also milked to excess, tainting the finished product with a rather synthetic feel.

With polished production and hard rock trademarks, Drowning Pool’s everyman appeal sacrifices musicianship in favour of chart-topping success. The end result is a listenable, but ultimately mindless slice of squeaky-clean, All-American fun.

Faye Coulman

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