Sound — 8
The Number 12 Looks Like You are a pretty interesting band, they do a lot of genre bending within the extreme music spectrum. Mixing technical death metal with jazz, grind, and hardcore seems to be a popular trend as of late with, but the way TNTLLY do it is completely unique and head and shoulders above the rest. Jesse Korman, their lead singer, describes their newest effort "Mongrel": "We don't want to sound like anybody else. We stepped it up to the point where we've killed everything we've ever done previously, while a lot of bands that started out heavier have seemed to be going more melodic and easier on crowds, at least that's the trend. It seems to be the path a lot of these heavy bands are going these days, and we didn't want our fans to be like, 'Oh no, it's all just going to be melodic.' We wanted to make sure we really kicked some ass on Mongrel. I don't know where we fit in, genre-wise, but this record's definitely something you've never heard before. On top of being incredibly heavy, there's stuff in there that's just the catchiest stuff I've heard in so long." I really do agree with that statement because Mongrel is one of the best albums that I have heard this year and is in my opinion TNTLLY's best work yet. The production on this album is better than anything that they have done and the musicianship is superb. Tracks like "Jay Walking Backwards" and "Grandfather" show how the band can craft hooks amist their quirky genre splicing ear assault. The soloing on this album is a step up from thier previous one, with their guitarist Alex throwing some really off the wall jazzy interludes to some balls out techmetal soloing. He also has a Tom Morello "Killing In The Name of"-esque solo in "Grandfather" (2:10-2:26). But just when you think they are out of tricks, TNTLLY put a flamenco guitar solo in the middle of their song "Paper Weight Pigs". Instrumentally, this album is awesome. The one problem I have with this album is the closing track, "The Try (Thank You)" because it was not what I expected, but in a good way, I was thinking they would go in the same direction as "Nuclear.Sad.Nuclear" by having a kinda epic and emotional track, but instead they decide to go all out and end with a random repeated guitar part at the end, awesome.
Lyrics — 7
The vocals in this album are definately a step up, Jesse and Justin have really gotten good at their respective screams, and it really adds to the frantic nature of their music. The singing on this album is much better than previous releases as well, in fact it's probably one of the highlights of the album. The growling, though used effectively, is not as good as the other vocals. I'll be honest, as a musician I've never paid much attention to lyrics, but the lyrics to "Mongrel" are much more personal this time around, with the song "El Piata De La Muerte" being about Jesse Korman's abusive stepdad.
Overall Impression — 8
This album is a step up from all their previous stuff. This album should be compared along the likes of From a Second Story Window and The Sawtooth Grin. I know bands like those and TNTLLY aren't really everyones cup of tea but I just love really quirky weird mathy music, so this was right up my alley, and I love every minute of this cd. The most impressive songs on this album are "Jay Walking Backwards," "Grandfather," and "Paper Weight Pigs." I love the fact that this album is all over the place, but at the same time can sound so precise and focused. I hate the fact that this album is kinda short. If this was stolen, I would most definately buy a new one, but I've already made 2 backup copies of this CD so that I don't lose the original.