Sound — 7
You should be someone really good and extraordinary to become on of 14 lucky bands being picked out of 11, 500 unsigned competitors. Unfortunately it's not always like this. Not in the case with Ernie Ball Battle Of The Bands, Vol. 10. Listening to the compilation you can't stop wondering -- how bad were the other 11,486 bands that didn't make it to the CD and is the situation in music business that bad now. Unfortunately, what is supposed to sound very diverse and original sounds like filler with a few tracks at the ok level. The compilation starts promising with a few interesting songs. Sit Still by Brightwood is very melodic rock with catchy tunes, wonderful multiplied vocals and different guitar effects. It seems like a solid track at the begging, but the heavy middle part spoils the impression. As Blood Runs Black presents a heavy metalcore track In Dying Days with distorted complex guitar gammas and tempo changes. It's got two interesting breakdowns, but unpleasantly breaks as if they forgot about a proper ending. Headspin by And Then I Turned Seven is Avril Lavigne with a male voice. It's weird, but the lead singer Dane even imitates her voice. I can't stop thinking I've heard those Woa-hoa somewhere else. Karate High School plays some false piano in their Twice Upon A Time (110 Percent). Quite outstanding, but not a great idea after all. It's funny like you can tell the punk-rock band by their song title -- they are usually something about the prom queens or the virginity -- like The Sudden Lost Of Innocence The Weakend that close the CD. Being charmed by teen movies, guys borrow the ideas from them when it comes both to music and to titles. People by Natives Of The New Dawn is like a breath of fresh air in between this angry and aggressive music. It's light ska-jazz something with cry-baby guitars. As much as being fresh and outstanding, it's a weird to be found in this company.
Lyrics — 6
Lyrics are as different, as the genres of the songs are. Punk rock is about love-hate relationship, metal is about being unsatisfied with life, ska, though being more about the vibes than words, still is about music in your head. Meriwether brings in some interesting poetry with their R.I.P. New Orleans and I am a robot/Won't you read the papers right before you go lyrics. The dumbiest moment of the album comes at the end of Sit Still by Brightwood with Here I am, there you are/Wish upon a falling star being repeated a number of times with a weak screamo at the background. I guess that screamo is supposed to create a crescendo moment, but it's so out of place... Vocally a lot of bands copy each other -- competing who can yell louder without any emotions and no clue what singing actually is. There is quite a good share of strong screamo (As Blood Runs Black with In Dying Days impresses you by being diverse in it). The vocalist of The Flatliners Chris Cresswell has funny mad dog vocals, barking through the song Bad News. Well, some kind of the band's seal anyway...
Overall Impression — 6
All of the bands have surely deserved to be on the compilation -- just to get such an impressive fanbase being unsigned means they've spent months on MySpace, adding whoever, typing endless thanx for the add! and asking everybody to vote for them at the link below. But that doesn't mean all of them are worth listening to. Even though you can't judge the band by just one song, most of the acts didn't show their good side. The compilation reminds me a lot of the Warped Tour (which has an explanation -- Ernie Ball has sponsored a stage on the Warped Tour for the past ten years). About 80% of the CD is Siamese twins bands -- really hard to differ from each other. It's not about the same genre or sounds, it's more about the same mediocre level of them.