Consciousness review by Smile Empty Soul

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  • Released: Aug 25, 2009
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.2 (38 votes)
Smile Empty Soul: Consciousness

Sound — 7
Walking into Best Buy I was hoping to be disappointed and have one of their sales people tell me "I'm sorry, we seem to not have that album available, but it is the first day it is out, try tomorrow." This was not the case, I walked out with goosebumps prepared to throw Smile Empty Soul's new album into my car stereo. Man I have to say, Smile Empty Soul is BACK! Even after the 5 months the fans had to wait before this album came out. The guitars are typical Smile Empty Soul. Sean Danielson has always been known for his one pickup Schecter C1 Elite, and it seems to be his guitar of choice here. He has the guitar distorted like previous albums, with that chorus/phase effect on his clean tones, bringing a really deranged eerie tone to the guitars. There are the songs most people are used to, with the clean intros that lead to the distorted and angry sounding chorus, as well as the distorted intros to clean choruses to the distorted choruses, and my favorite are Sean's acoustic melodies with his beautifully kept voice. Which is a highlight of the album in my opinion. There are songs life We're Through where the choruses are the well defined stressed scream/sings that take me back to the first album, like the song Every Sunday. He also has the great ability to sing, shown in Don't Ever Leave, which also has a good clean sounding riff to keep the listener interested. The songs Stay Alive and O'Lord are more acoustic soft songs, arranged beautifully with great singing and melodies. There is even some soft of interlude/instrumental on the album, which caught me off guard, it is entitled Atoll A couple highlighted songs on the album. 01.Faker: the distorted riffs and chord progressions got me really excited about the rest of the album. 03.Don't Ever Leave: the lyrics of the chorus got me singing and i was listening to the song for the very first time, proving Sean's catchyness. 04.Compromise: a well sung well harmonized song. 06.Stay Alive: seems to be a good song that could make a single sooner or later, easy listening with a good use of distortion to still keep it soft. 08.Atoll: an interlude/instrumental. Sean and Ryan... enough said. 11.L.A. River: good catchy opening line... Good riffs, dark, reminding me of Out To Sea off of Vultures. 13.O'Lord: like a mix of I Want My Life off of Smile Empty Soul and God's Army off of Anxiety. Beautiful singing with great different melodies and interchanging chords. Very few flaws in this album, but every once in a while everyone can get sick of just chords and fewly driven complicated riffs. No they have not gone soft after you listen to the lyrics.

Lyrics — 10
I have always been in love with Sean Danielson's lyrics since I first heard Nowhere Kids. This album still goes along with the them of abuse, anger, deceit, and ruining the generations of kids. "So take your f--king faker face and stay away from me." ~ Faker Don't Ever Leave me has some contradicting sarcastic lyrics. It seems as if there is a superior human being controlling Sean, and he is pretending to love it, which I don't think from the lyrics you could love this. "Hey, love it when your spitting in my face, the way you scream when you are breaking all my things, I love the way you put me in my place." In reality I don't think he really likes this, then he ends this chorus with "Don't Ever Leave Me Alone" Its up to you to decide what he means. O'Lord's lyrics seem to be asking the Lord for help of internal fights within Sean's brain, or whoever's viewpoint it is coming from. "Hard to keep the faith while falling, hard to see your face while crawling, hard to keep the faith while falling down, while no ones around." "O lord save me from my own abuse." The lyrics are always a true thing I have loved about Sean Danielson.

Overall Impression — 9
It compares to the other albums of Smile Empty Soul, because mainly I see it as a combination of their first two albums, (Smile Empty Soul and the barely released Anxiety) with more of Sean's touch. Sean stepped up his singing abilities from Vultures, and added more rage then we saw in songs like Proud To Be or Radio In A Hole. Most impressive songs have to be O'Lord, L.A. River, Don't Ever Leave, Alone With Nothing, and Atoll. I absolutley love it. If it were lost or stolen I would simply need to get a new copy, however that will happen. Smile Empty Soul Fans Get This!

11 comments sorted by best / new / date

    From start to finish this is an amazing album, I like the guitar riffs & the distortion that Sean gets is perfect, & I really like how he blends the phaser/flanger on his clean tone, an amazing band.
    Great album. They are getting better with every released album. I can't pick a favorite song. I also love that they show their 'punky' side with Walking Away. These guys are great!
    LA River and Reflection are the only ones I liked. The rest is bland.
    i saw them a few years ago, and i have to say they were not so good, pretty generic.
    This band deserves so much more. They TRULY make better music than most of the Nickel-Grace rock radio bull shit that being played. It's a nice strong album right here. And i thought that good genuine Alt-Rock was dead! Nice review btw.
    Some of their choruses were spectacular. (Reflection, Alone with nothing) or at the very least very catchy (We're Through, Stay Alive, Don't Ever Leave). I love the bit of philosophy/sarcasm they inject into their lyrics and as always w/ SES there are songs that are slow, relevant, and lyrically pleasing to the ears. Half the fun is the toungue in cheek messages directed at individuals and society in general. You can imagine them smiling while flipping the bird at a different person in most songs. I believe they went after the band mate that left (faceless), God Himself/peoples views on God and hypocrisy in worshipping and disobeying Him (*When don't they), Hollywood (L.A. River) and either stalkers in general and/or the girl that left (Compromise). Speaking of Compromise this was my favorite song on the album. There were better songs (I am very bitter they couldn't add to Reflection) but this one was such a whacked out theme that I found myself laughing, couldn't help it, how many songs are about hunting down a girl in such a loving and tender way? I hear that much of Sean's lyrics are just about real life situations and not him specifically. This ability to analyze, satirize and empathize with the world is the main reason this is my favorite band. I hope this is true otherwise he's led a very hard life, might need help and I will be miserable when he pulls a Cobain. But my opinion and from what I gather he's just a genius and does a fantastic job understanding that hey this is life and he does an excellent job imparting that through his music which is why those a**holes dumped the band. Too real. I got the feeling that even though some of the songs sounded a bit more commercial than normal and I actually heard the word "baby" a few times that this was done once again as a bit of a joke with a big f*** u aimed at some exec somewhere. They "compromised" and made a "love song". I can't critique individual instruments and their use or anything b/c I know jack sh** about that but as a listener I found the mix of vocals and instruments was great in that neither one gets in the way of the other which sometimes happens with bands trying to fill a CD. In other words you can listen to the whole CD and once u do u can go back and listen to their others which is rare. SES doesn't really do filler material. The voice/words are the best instrument for SES and it's there that their previous and current work shine. The worst thing about their albums is that they end.
    Smile Empty Soul have this gift about almost being too simple, but at the same time... not. And they sound completely different than the rest of the alternative bands out today (in my opinion). They make me feel like I'm listening to real classics like Nirvana, Weezer & Bush, you know '90-esque stuff. Not many bands now do that for me now. I wish these guys could get more credit for their work, but at the same time, I don't want them to be pigeonholed in with these sorry ass bands like Nickelback, Buckcherry and Hinder. Consciousness is a their best yet in my opinion. I wish the best of luck to this band, for the label trouble they've gone through, losing their drummer and to still be together making good records, that's devoted. Awesome album by and awesome band.
    very good album. i totally agree with dawoodman619, wanted to say the same thing
    smile empty soul est un magnifique groupe que j'coute et apprend jouer depuis 1 ans et demi, j'apprcie tout particulirement sean danielsen pour ses performences vocales et musicales, ils ont un style bien eux sans prrention qui me convient parfaitement! continuez de faire rver vos fans...