Take a look at those track titles. "Lost". "Pain". "Alone". "Sorrow". From those alone, you can probably already tell two things about this band. First, NEGATIVE REACTION aren't exactly the most positive and uplifting group in the world. Nope nope, they're quite content on wallowing in misery and anguish all day long and for most of the night, too. Second, this band is not one for frills. No long, flowering song titles. No faux-poetry. "Empty". That's all they need. The song titles are stripped down and forceful, just like the sound and just like the tunes.
Sludge. Gooey, sticky, oily Sludge Metal. The kind that oozes along and swallows up all that gets in its path, moving at a snail's pace but as relentless as a pack of wild elephants. That's the kind of music NEGATIVE REACTION plays. No apologies, no experiments, just riffs, drums, screaming and an overdose of pain, anger and suffering. Not exactly the soundtrack for sunny days in the park.
Oh, the riffs. They're good. Heavy, dirty and most importantly, ass-kicking. Thick, destructive riffs, over and over, beating you on the head like a hammer pounds a nail. And oh, the drums! Plodding along like a lumbering beast, punctuating each hammer-smash riff and setting that wondefully droning tempo. The bass! It doesn't do much, but it sure as hell makes those riffs sound huge. And you know, were it not for the vocals, I probably would have really liked this record! Like, a lot! But no...the vocals are what kill it. A wheezy, forced scream that just sounds like, well, something that sounds not good at all. When I say "wheezy", I mean it - the vocalist sounds like he's been smoking thirty cigarettes a day for about sixty years. Instead of getting that gravely Tom Waits effect, he gets the Grampa Simpson.
There's lots and lots of potential in this here NEGATIVE REACTION. Were it not for the vocals, this would be one killer Sludge record. Hell, even then, it's a killer Sludge record, but one that I'm probably not going to listen to due to the grating and wheezing vocal delivery. Recommended to those who love riffs and have amazingly selective hearing! (Online August 4, 2006)