Sound — 9
Sick Puppies' sound is, in short, very versatile. Many songs on the album have a loud, raw, energetic sound to it. Some songs, however, will have a soft, almost boring sound to it. But these are quickly redeemed by a riveting transference to the already mentioned rawness. However, on songs such as 'All The Same', that soft sound is what makes the song work, along with the lyrics. The tone of the instruments is in itself a marvel. The guitar tone jumps at you, both clean and overdriven. Clean, the guitar has a nice, warm sound to it, such as in 'Too Many Words'. 'All The Same' has a slightly driven sound in the later part of the first verse, but it is still very warm and rich, full of texture. Listening to 'Cancer', I find the distortion that I want for myself. It has that high-gain drive that is found in all hard rock music, and yet, it is more articulate, more clear. You can hear every note in a chord as it's own entity, yet still hear them together. Guitarist Shimon Moore has found the perfect guitar tone for this music. The bass tone is nothing short of perfect for the songs. It has enough low end that it doesnt't sound like it's trying to take over the guitar's sound spectrum, but enough mids and highs to kill the mud and retain clarity, as well as for the slapping and popping that bassisst Emma Anzai does from time to time. She definitally lives up to the title 'The Female Flea'. I personally think that she is better, because she is able to make the funk style of Flea and RHCP work in the alt-rock/metal crossover of Sick Puppies. One thing, however, that I did not enjoy was the vocal mixing. Bassist Emma Anzai, besides having the perfect bass style for this band, also does backing vocals. However, they are hard for me to hear. It may be may speakers, but I doubt it. I've seen live videos of them, and listened to them though studio moniters at my friend's house, and neither of us could hear her voice. It is a bit sad, but, she still retains spotlight significance with her bass playing. Now we come to the drums. I know that I have heard drum beats like this before. Every beat imaginable has already been done, it's that simple. The fact of the matter is, they haven't been done quite like this. A lot of the time, it seems almost as if the entire drum track to a song is one giant drum fill, such as on 'Howard's Tale'. The drum track is one rolling sound, a constant beat that is quite unpredicable, despite it's repetion. Drummer Mark Goodwin definitally gets his props here. Normally I have a few major gripes with a band's sound, especially after listening to a live album. Take Evanescence for example. They're studio sound on 'Fallen' is not the best guitar sound I've heard. It's just not heavy enough for that kidn of music. But on their live album, 'Anywhere But Home', the sound is so damn heavy, it makes my bass tone seem to trebly. Sick Puppies, however have seem to have mastered the art of equilization.
Lyrics — 9
'What is it I'm after/Searching for disaster/Watching my whole life flash in front of my eyes/We've been given answers/Still we're walking cancers/Dressed up as a life', goes the chorus to 'Cancer'. It has that catchiness to it, but what does it mean? The lyrics of this album take a great deal of deciphering. Sometimes, a bit too much deciphering. But other times, it's a game that I'm happy to play. Moore's vocal skills are very versatile, from the soft style of songs like 'All The Same' to that hard rock/alt rock mix vocalization on others, such as 'Deliverence', and the choruses to songs such as 'Pitiful', 'Asshole Father', and others. Again, I wish that Anzai's vocals were more audible, but, in itself, the vocals and lyrics are exactly what the music needs to complete it. They are sometimes a bit too angsty for me, but when that happens, the instrumental work is good enough to keep my mind occupied, which is lucky for them.
Overall Impression — 9
Compared to other artists that I listen to, it is hard to compare these guys with them. They're just that amazing. I sincerly wish I could give them a 10 overall, but the sometimes cliche angst lyrics are just a little bit overdone. But, as already stated, the actual instruments are a perfect distraction when that happens. I have lent this album to a few friends already, and have listened to it many times through. My only wish is for a little less angst, and a little more of Anzai's vocals in the mix. Overall, great album. The song 'All The Same' was also featured in the 'Free Hugs' video on Youtube. I suggest everybody watch it. It puts me and my friends in a ridiculously good mood.