Sound — 7
The roots of Mower go back to 1995 when the band formed in San Diego, California. For eleven years of existing Mower survived the change of the line-up, shared the stage with the bands like Deftones, Metallica and Slayer, finally singed to Suburban Noize Records in 2003 and released a self-title album. After another change of the band members and the returning of the original drummer Ryan Toth, Mower is back and ready to fight -- with a heavy weapon -- new album Not For You, produced by Mikey Doling (guitarist for Snot, Soulfly). Like many other bands of their genre, Mower follow the fashion of fusing different music styles -- raw energy of heavy metal, punk and hardcore. The songs are driven by heavy distorted guitars, played by guitarist Matt Wannamaker and bassist Chris McCredie. Drums are very modest, mostly creating some thunder noise and mashine-gun rhythms on the background. The production of the album left an unusually for this music noteless part for the drums, letting the guitars and vocals lead the main part. The band varies rough metal songs by different fill-ins in the beginning or at the end of the song -- African-like tom drums (in 10'x10'), car crash, melodic guitar lines. There are also a couple funny dialogues in between tracks (one of them is a hidden track at the end of the album). The record opener is a tribute to the Bret Easton Ellis' novel, American Psycho -- good enough to catch your attention, it explores with a blast of energy and strong guitar riffs hammering out the rhythm. The CD keeps going like that till the very last song. The title song Not For You hooks you more than any other track, thanx to it's groovy bass. The cover of The Mamas And The Papas California Dreaming mixed by veteran engineer Patrick Shevlin, is awkward -- not only it doesn't sound good, it spoils all the impression of the original song. Closing the album with this track the band makes a fat blot at the end of the record.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics are pretty memorable -- slick things like What I'm looking for in a woman is the way Jesus makes me feel -- that tingle in my heart... only I need to have a little pussy attached to that (intro to Look Away) and If you know one thing, know yourself, 'cause you can't know someone else (American Psycho) appear here and there. Loud-shouted f--k is also appearing pretty often. The band's biggest achievement is dual vocal -- the duet of two singers -- Chris Sheerin and Dominic Moscatello -- matching each other. One has a classic metal voice and that works for the traditional side of the music. Another one adds variety -- his voice is higher and it sounds like a very old insane woman yelling at you at the bus stop (I bet he would easily get a job synchronizing witches in horror movies). Both of the vocals are recorded with a multiply effect, so it seems that there are at least four people singing instead of two (like those people from the North East that can make two sounds at the same time). The only weak point here is awful choral vocals in California Dreaming -- sounds like a bunch of drunk metal rockers singing an anthem.
Overall Impression — 7
From the beginning to the end Not For You goes very dynamic and with high intensity, explaining their name, which stands for powerful force. There's a certain vibe in music that can get you hooked. Unlike the most metal or hard-core records songs on the album are diverse. A lot of diversity comes from dual vocals and interesting guitar riffs. When there are too many similar acts on the music scene today, one of the most important part of the business is the find your seal. The thing with a metal duet gives a big advantage to Mower. There are no highlights on the record -- some songs are a little bit better, some are a bit worse, but overall the album's pretty mediocre.