This is actually going to be a experienced review, as I've listened to this album at least 50 times through, and several songs (According to Last.FM's tracking of what I play on my iPod, iTunes & other media players) over 100 times.
Anyways, let me get on with it. I would like to start by saying that the reviews that I read on this album are off their mark. They obviously came from people who don't even like this genre and probably didn't even listen to the album more than once. So, therefore, I'm going to aim for a different mark from my point of view.
The album starts with one of the best tracks on the album, "My Room". Moderately simple, but terribly catchy, the song opens the album up quite nicely to the listener. It gives you a pretty good expectation of what to expect out of certain areas of the rest of the album. You've got a mild amount of heaviness, a mixture of clean singing and alternative metal growling, turntables & a very rhythmic song structure.
The second track, "Ugly", flows nicely from its predecessor and shows off a little bit more of the turntables. The guitar playing is more simple in this track than "My Room" but it's still good (I quite like the way the flanger effect is used in the pre-chorus and the little wah pedal break section near the middle of the track).
After this comes the single, "Boring". I'll be honest, I didn't like this song the first time I heard it. It comes off a bit too cocky for my taste upon first listen ("Come and take a look at what I've got inside, stepping up to me will make you question your mind" ?), but after you hear it a few times it will get stuck in your head. I'm still not a big fan of the regular verses but I love the pre-chorus and chorus sections, especially the simplistic start-stop turntable use in the chorus. As well the break section near the end with the panning guitar is great.
Next up comes one of my favorite tracks on the album, "Swallow", which is the first of several very melancholy tracks. The sound effects created in the background sound great in headphones (As well over the course of the album there are numerous tracks where there are really cool soundscapes in the background, but I will point those out along the way) and the song in general always kind of bums me out, but I tend to like more depressing tracks on albums anyways so it works. One thing I especially like is how you can feel the emotion in his voice throughout the song. I can't stand a sad song where you can\'t believe the singer, it just annoys me. Following this is "No Need", which is also the name of the band's EP which precedes this full length release. This is another more melancholy effort, which I don't like as much as the prior track but still like quite a lot. My favorite section is right around the 2 minute mark with the simplistic drum beat, the lurking guitar effects phasing in and out and the background soundscapes. It just sounds really cool to me, that is all. On from here we have "Parade", which I really liked at first but after hearing it 50 or so times you realize how cheesy the lyrics are. However, to make up for it the music on the track is fantastic, I just can't not kind of shake my head at the "IT'S RAINING!" sections, heh. The bass guitar at the beginning sounds cool as hell though.
After this we have "New", which is another personal favorite. This song makes good use of a simple palm muting technique on the guitar and uses Nick Coyle's melodic voice quite well to make the song a memorable take. This is also one of the tracks on the album where you can really hear where some of the sound that went to Breaking Benjamin when the guitarist and bassist left to join them came from. Now we've got the track "Disbelief", which is probably the only song on the album I'm not a big fan of and I think it may be in big part due to the turntable effects used here. On most of the album I like the turntables, just not here. And look at that, first thing that you see happen on the next track "Blurred" is the turntables making up for the last song. This song I always thought was mildly interesting in the fact that in the chorus the vocalist's output sounds really close to Lajon Witherspoon from Sevendust. This is another track on the album which makes good use of soundscapes and guitar effects around the 2 minute mark. I really wish I could've heard what it would've sounded like in a darkened concert venue.
From here we\'ve got a slightly faster paced track in "Heave" which boasts one of my favorite lyrics on the album ("Some people look good on their knees, but you look the best"). Another good rhythmic track with simple guitar harmonies and good use of turntables.
Coming close to the end of the album and we've got my favorite cut from the album, "Not Like You". Another melancholy track, albeit a bit harder than "Swallow", once more makes great use of Nick Coyle's vocal melodies. I also really like the effect used at the beginning on the drums to make them sound the way they do. Another one of my favorite lyrics from the album comes from this track ("I know I'm no Jesus Christ, but I'm no different than you. What if I was everything you wanted ? Would you still point and laugh at me ?"). Simple, yet you understand where he's coming from and that's what I like. Yeah, I like smart work at times, but I also don't like everything to be overcoated in terminology that takes forever to grasp. Straight forward and to the point without sounding like too much of a bitch. This track, as with the one before it, has a nice effect section near the end before it builds strong into the final chorus areas.
After this comes "Breathless", which most people know from the soundtrack of The Scorpion King. I'm not a big fan of the vocals on the track, but as on "Parade" the music more than makes up for it. I especially love the beginning bass segment leading into the high notes heavily effected on the guitar and then the start-stop heavy section before the actual singing kicks in. The album's closer comes after in "Perfect (With Silence)". It took me some time to actually appreciate this song, as it's acoustic and the singers vocals going along with the style seem odd in parts, but it really is a good way to end the album. Obviously another melancholy cut, I don't like it as much as "Not Like You" or "Swallow", but I do like it.
And now we've come to our finish line. I think anyone who is reading this and is a fan of the Nu Metal or Alternative Metal genre should at least give this album a chance. As a final run-down I'd give the album an 8 / 10. Check it out.
See "http://www.myspace.com/sleepxless" for more reviews from Detox.
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