Drowning Pool - Desensitize 2004 Wind Up Records reviewed by: EC
1. Think 2. Step Up 3. Numb 4. This Life 5. Nothingness 6. Bringing Me Down 7. Love And War 8. Forget 9. Cast Me Aside 10. Killin' Me 11. Hate
I have never been a huge fan of this band. Their debut record, "Sinner", was as interesting to me as a full hour celebrity version of "Wheel Of Fortune". With the band's anthem, "Bodies" spotlighting every soundtrack and compilation record on the planet for the last three years, and the hopeless legions of teeny boppers comparing Drowning Pool with the likes of Zeppelin and Sabbath, the Drowning Pool movement seemed a bit much to me. That sort of thing really didn't sit well with me, but I can go beyond that and look at the substance of talent in the band, which to me was very little. "Sinner" simply had one finger grooves throughout, with the hybrid of rap and hardcore spitting from the mouth of Dave Williams. Really not much going on with the band or the debut that would seem awe-inspiring, revolutionary, or even interesting.
With the unfortunate passing of Dave Williams, Drowning Pool looked to be a one hit wonder that simply vanished into the mist. There were rumors circulating that everyone from Rob Zombie to Axel Rose would be singing for this band and there was a "reunion" in the works, but nothing seemed concrete and I lost what little bit of interest I had in the group.
While checking out the Iced Earth episode of Headbanger's Ball, they aired the band's new video, "Step Back", complete with new singer Jason "Gong" Jones handling the mic. I was blown away. For the first time in years, a big name rock group finally showed the listening viewers that they are ROCK STARS! Drowning Pool went completely against the grain, showing a video filled with bikini-clad women, suitcases of money, mansions, and sports cars.
Since the dawn of musical decay in this country (1991), we have had so called rock stars dressed in khakis, sweaters, and flannel shirts, completely engrossing themselves in a poor man's world, not looking the part of a rock star, instead simply getting by in vagrant mode, perhaps even entertaining the notion that they themselves are the unfortunate victims of society, not earning a dollar on their quest to liberate the world through their various art forms.
Now, behold the dawn of a new day, with Drowning Pool stepping to the front, letting rock star freedom reign once more. And by all means, this record leaps beyond looks and takes a new stance on today's rock, one that is uplifting and inspiring to me, with the group's "Desensitized" offering up a splendid world of huge solos and leads (glam style if you will), vocals that ring with attitude, and good, solid songwriting, that at brief times writes radio friendly (Step Up).
In my opinion the biggest plus about the record is Mr. Jones, with his unique persona to call up different metal eras with each song. The album's crunchy opener, "Think", brings to mind Pantera records like "Cowboys From Hell" and "Vulgar Display Of Power", with Jones taking command of Phil's hateful voice, taking it to another range all together, but still delivering that low-bottom sound. Jones steps it up a notch with "Numb", a track that is reminiscent of Black Label Society or Pride & Glory. "Bringing Me Down" is like prime Life Of Agony, with the guitar frenzy of New York hardcore, slowed down to keep it sane.
Jones even stops to look in the direction of one Geoff Tate with the slowly built "Love & War", only to get brutal again with the angry "Cast Me Aside". Favorite tracks for me are the rock and roll goodtimes of "Step Up", and the bombastic, ball grinding of "Hate", with its sing along chorus in the style of bands ranging from Quiet Riot to Beautiful Creatues.
If this is any indication of nu-metal gone hard rock, then the mainstream future will be a bright one. Drowning Pool have completely gone against the grain, reversing the exec's swivel chairs in the opposite direction, and banging the heads of modern rock fans to a different type of tune.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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