Nu Metal December review number three - a band who were once touted as the next homegrown big thing - despite the band originating from the Republic Of Ireland but let's not quibble. There have been more than a few bands who've been touted as the next big thing only for them to tank after a few years (One band ended up making it - they were called The Lost Prophets but let's not go there) and this band were no exception. They released a further two albums and then called it a day in 2003. Last I heard, they'd reformed and were writing and recording again. Here is hoping they make a better go of it this time.
As I was saying, this band were quite popular for a bit - maybe for all the wrong reasons as stories began to break about how venues would get trashed due to rowdy fans acting the big one. It's not good when a band attracts an aggro element. The music itself was all chugging riffs and grooves to die for, so it was very easy for them to get a pit going. The band themselves were quite political in their approach. This - as well as the music style - lead to comparisons with another act with a similar approach, Rage Against The Machine. I suppose it was an understandable if somewhat lazy comparison to make. Both bands had rappers and both rappers were adequate at their art but had a somewhat high-pitched nasal delivery. The funny thing was though is that in interviews, the lead singer of OMS (Brian 'Yap' Barry) would be giving this extremely political speech which bordered on a sermon whilst the bassist (Glen Diani) would spend most of the interview talking about shagging so the whole thing had the vibe of a student party - the type where you pretend to be politically world-wise just so you could nail the cute looking fresher! Making up the rest of the musos on this release were Chris Ignatiou (guitar) and Eddie Stratton (drums).
It might be a bit of a stretch to label the band as 'nu metal' but by the time this album dropped, the Nu Metal genre was starting to gather momentum so you could say that this band were in the right place at the right time. Anyhow, here goes...
The first song is a one called "New Dogs New Tricks" which starts off by warning us we have 'thirty minutes to clear the fucking area' before launching into a song which has a canny enough groove. Seems to be plenty talk about 'provos' which may indicate the song was about The Troubles in Northern Ireland. Canny line about "Knick Knack Paddy With The Facts" as well. Makes me chuckle for some reason. Next up is "South Central" which is quite fast to begin with - musically and vocally. It's like a form of scat-rap with an extremely rapid delivery which is very reminiscent of an early MC called Silver Bullet (he did a record called "Twenty Seconds To Comply" which aside from being chock-full of samples from the movie 'Robocop' had an extremely rapid-fire delivery). Things slow to a groove in the chorus which would have no doubt got the audience hopping when playing live. A very good song, I have to admit that when I read the lyrics to the next song - "Stuck Between A Rock And A White Face" - my heart sank. The reason why is because that it's a song about the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the root causes and tensions behind them. My first instinct was "what would a white Irishman know about black issues pertaining an event which had happened six years prior?" Now that I'm older, I understand that one can read stuff and form an opinion based on what has been read. You have to understand that not long before, a band called Clawfinger (I think I did a blog on them - and here it is!) had done what was supposed to be an anti-racism song but had handled it very badly. Therefore I thought it would be the case here but luckily, One Minute Silence manage to pull it off without sounding like idiots. The song itself is actually pretty good. All grooves and great guitar-work which utilises plenty FX without sounding like shit, it's the type of song I like to listen to after the gym when the adrenaline, blood and pre workout are still pumping! The next song is the aptly titled "A More Violent Approach" - starting with the kind of riff that conjures images of dusty petrol stations in the American desert, it thunders into a groove-fuelled monster. The next song is a charmingly titled ditty called Norfuckingmality and is a slight change in direction. Not as groovy as the first four, it's a rumbling cloud of destruction before a groove pops up towards the end. Very good indeed. "For Want Of A Better Word" gets a full-on groove thing going again while Yap starts to crack up towards the end. "I Think Therefore I'm Damned" has the kind of discordant riff opening before funky bass and drums come in and carry the song onward. It's alright but doesn't really go anywhere.
"Please Remain Calm" starts off quite dramatically before settling into the now trademark groove and smash that this band are clearly enjoying. The only bit that sucks is a bit where Yap starts going "My future, my future, my future is in the hands of fools" - it's not the lyrics or the sentiment but it sounds out of time with the music and comes across quite forced. "Available In All Colours" starts off with a rendition of various types of person before speeding up and after advising us they're available in all colours, the song starts off proper. A groove that flattens all comes at you before things slow down and become nightmarish during the chorus. Some quite cool harmonic effects also compliment the chorus. Slow outro which is nice. The next song is a bit of an odd one - it's called "Brainspiller" and seems to be about media manipulation and sensationalism. It's pretty much the same as the other songs on here - chugga-chugga-groove and all that but it has the kind of home made samples of news reports that sound cheesy as fuck. I hope they didn't pay the actress for her "American" accent...other than that, fine song. "A Waste Of Things To Come" doesn't really land because of the constant PULL UP! YA GOTTA PULL UP! etc refrain throughout the song. The ending is cool where is slides to a halt though. "And Some Ya Lose" has a weird whistling effect running through it, kind of like an old-timey radio being tuned. Other than that, we're business as usual. "Pig Until Proven Cop" ends the album nicely with a rant against the police. Gets a bit messy towards the end but it's all good.
The first thing I have to say about this album is that the production for the guitars is crap. Whilst the drums and bass sound solid enough, the guitars seem to rattle when they should crunch, and go fuzz when they should bludgeon the listener. A quick scan of the notes shows that the producer of the album (someone called 'Machine') primarily hails from the hip-hop scene which might explain it but they could still have did the guitars properly. The only other criticism is that the music tends to get a bit repetitive towards the end. If they'd dropped at least three tracks off the album then that would have improved it. The raps were interesting to say the least. Although they definitely could have done with a bit of spit and polish in places, Yap manages to give them a decent flow and sheer enthusiasm manages to pass them off very well. All in all, it's not the best album in the world and isn't likely to appeal to many, but for fans of music which chugs and grooves, you can't go wrong and it should provide some hours of fun.
7 - This is good and well worth a check.
Top Track: Stuck Between A Rock And A White Face.
This album is available on iTunes.
(Cool, never knew this video existed. I guess we can class them as Nu Metal due to the baggy pants)