Sound — 10
'LVL IV' was surprising, in that its similiarity to the '90s grunge/alternative scene went quite a bit deeper than imitating Cobain or Staley, but in terms of songwriting, playing and recording, also. Modern 'grunge' has adopted the sub genre of 'post-grunge', which is regularly a polished, radio friendly version of grunge. Every band in the past decade that has based their sound on grunge has been bundled into this category. The Future Leaders Of The World, now reformed as 'Machina', are every bit as grunge as their Seattle idols, no radio friendly versions. Their songs include every aspect that makes grunge what it is. The sound is familiar, yet unique, this is not merely a complete rip-off grunge album. The only drawback is the few stints of 'semi-rap' that is evident in a few songs, but to be honest, they don't do it all that bad. don't let this fool you into thinking they are 'nu-metal', the infrequency of it makes it easily forgettable. I can only recall it most prominently on 2 songs, Kill Pop and Everyday.
Lyrics — 8
Phil Taylor is quite a talented vocalist, even contributing to 'Raise Your Voice', a book teaching singing. His scream has a remarkably familiar tone, similiar to Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) (although a little higher pitched). He forms his words and seemingly mimics the vocal style of Layne Staley (Alice in Chains), but it works and fits well with the music. There have been a few bands in this past decade who have attempted to mimic AIC's style of music, Staind and Godsmack come to mind, yet they have not done it justice. The vocals mesh quite well with the music, never seeming forced dispite Phil's impressive range. The Lyrics themselves, I cannot fully comment on as I have not digested every song yet. The screaming parts are hard to decifer, but that's when Google comes in handy. I have not heard anything revolutionary in the lyrics, but as I've stated they fit the music well.
Overall Impression — 9
Its a shame this album wasn't released 10 years earlier, as I believe it would have had great success during the 'alternative boom'. Impressive songs include: Let Me Out (personal favourite), Unite, House of Chains. Spotlight and Sued also deserve mentions. Not so impressive tracks: Your Gov't Loves You, Kill Pop (mainly due to the rap-ish sections. If your a lover of grunge like myself, this album would do your collection justice. The emotions of angst and the general energy of the album made it for an enjoyable listen. If stolen or lost, I would definitely buy it again, although it is a little hard to find. I had to resort to the internet where I got it for a bargain: 99 cents! I highly anticipate the debut of a 'Machina' album. I am waiting for their EP, available from their myspace, to arive, I will review it when it does. I can only hope their sound has not changed.