Sound — 10
For some time the rock community has been increasing by the bands playing to some extent another kind of music in comparison to the conventional pattern. Along with well-known acts of traditional styles, such as hard rock, punk, emo, alternative, younger bands that are mixing these streams have originated. One of the striking examples is The Used. They began their career in 2002 with the self-titled debut. It was unkown band which has performed only twenty shows in and around their hometown Orem at that time. Since then, the glory poured on the guy's hands -- they rocked out at Ozzfest and Vans Warped Tour, and most recently they were splitting the stage with Linkin Park during the "Project Revolution" tour. They literally rushed into mainstream, stiring up the masses with their expressive guitar driven rock. The Used's latest release "In Love And Death" is worth-while report of the done work. Be prepared to have a good rouse, while listening to "Take It Away", the record's first song -- it's a very emotional start in the likeness of the rest of the album, though it's an awful mistake to think that the whole album was made in the same key. Not at all! Undoubtly, this is a very intense and fervent record, featuring a few nice exclusions such as the fourth track "All That I've Got" with its beautiful tunefulness, acoustic track "Yesterday's Feelings" with its mysterious percussion introduction, and a one more ballad "Hard to Say". Another great track of the album is mid-tempo, piano-based "Cut Up Angels" with tortured screaming of impassioned lyrics. The ninth track "Sound Effects And Overdramatics" is the most heavy and agressive song with its crushing guitar riffs and so impressively strong vocals. Rapid and emotional "I'm a Fake" -- just as the opening track "Take It Away" -- blows your head off completely. These two tracks reflect the general mood of the band's creative work.
Lyrics — 10
All the lyrics are emotional and agressive. They are not too easy and open for underdstanding as it might seem with your first opinion. The guys are from Orem, with its deep church-based culture, and this place was a good incubator for the band to rear the spirit of contradiction. Ask singer Bert McCracken what he's rebelling against, and he will respond, "whattaya got?" You can feel that spirit while listening both to the music and lyrics of In Love And Death -- it requires some time to understand its mystery and you'll be engrossed in thoughts while trying to solve the puzzle. As to the vocal skills of McCracken -- it's just amazing! It's really so much impressvie and plain at the same time that you wouldn't stay indifferent to his perfect work.
Overall Impression — 10
Although year 2004 was fruitful for all sorts of punk/emo-like releases, it lacked the leader or some kind of outstanding record... untill the day In Love And Death was released. My Chemical Romance, Thrice, AFI mixes up the raw energy of emotioanal punk with screaming vocals and solid guitar work, though The Used had an ace in the hole prepared to give out at the right moment. Being imbued to the backbone with an energy, In Love And Death is devilishly solid and racy album. There are no similar tracks on the record, unless you will listen to the first and last track only. On September 12th, 2004 -- the date of release of In Love And Death -- The Used had demonstrated their right to occupy the winner's place at the rock scene. Unlike the most of the recent releases In Love And Death stands out from the whole mess with its strong and actual content. Perfectly done!