Sound — 6
Cold World is a hardcore band from Pennsylvania. Active since 2005, the band has achieved some underground success in the United States. Their new, blistering, twenty-seven minute long album will not extricate them from that niche. Then again, I wouldn't expect a band of their attitude to care about their "niche."
Actually, Cold World, at least at this point, compares nicely with early KISS. Like KISS in the mid '70s, Cold World has a niche following gained mostly from the thrill of their concerts. They play hardcore with adequate, somewhat mediocre dexterity, like early KISS played hard rock. Also very much like early KISS, Cold World doesn't take too many chances on their albums or attempt to break boundaries; everything is just so average that the whole time, the listener is left waiting for something to change, something out of the ordinary, something over the top that never comes.
With this album, Cold World seems to have embraced a slightly more polished production sound than that of some of their previous work. However, from a musical perspective, it seems like nothing of value has changed, or rather nothing has changed into something of value. I understand that Cold World can continue to make bland music and rely on their stage presence to keep them alive, relevant, and, evidently, happy. But how many times on an album can you beat that open E string before it gets boring?
Actually, I should correct myself. "How the Gods Chill" is not quite bland; it is vanilla. The guitar riffs are okay but incredibly predictable. The vocals are average, certainly nothing I haven't heard before. The drums are just as predictable as the guitars, maybe a little bit better in terms of sheer ability. In reality, the various aspects of this album are not at all bad, I just happen to spend the whole album wanting more. That feeling of always wanting more is how I initially connected Cold World to KISS. With the initial three KISS albums, I spent the whole time thinking everything was slightly too slow and then for whatever reason, when I listened to the live album, everything just clicked.
Maybe I'm missing out. I'm positive that the songs on this album would translate well to a live show. Again, maybe that is all that Cold World was aiming for. But after my impressions so far with this album, I feel like Cold World would be a band worth watching if they happened to be playing in the bar I'm in. At least with this album, Cold World does not separate themselves enough from other hardcore groups to be the type of band that I would purposely go to a venue to see.
Lyrics — 7
As I mentioned before, the vocals on this album are average, nothing more or less. One pleasant surprise is the reduction in screamed vocals. Maybe it has to do with Cold World maturing as a band. Whatever the reason, the vocals on this album are noticeably tamer than on past ones. Though the vocals may be somewhat kinder than before, there is still enough wild energy to get a crowd going and to keep this album exciting for fans.
It is also worth noting that the band has collaborated with some hip-hop artists on the vocal front. Though the band has always had a noticeable rap influence, they have not before collaborated with other artists on as wide a scale, I believe. From what I can tell from news and literature surrounding the band, some of the artists who appear on this album are Sean Price and Kool G Rap (full disclosure: I have not previously heard of either of them).
Overall Impression — 6
My overall impression of this album is that it is good enough to satisfy previous fans and maybe garner some new ones from the hardcore community. But for listeners whom hardcore is just one of many genres of choice, "How the Gods Chill" will not be interesting enough to keep them musically satiated.
Maybe this album is a bland piece of work from yet another hardcore band. Or, maybe it is the new hardcore headbanger's anthem. I believe the former but maybe you'll believe the latter. Who knows? Why not try it out? After all, it will only take twenty-seven minutes of your time.