For a while there it looked like OPIATE FOR THE MASSES was never going to leave band purgatory. With all the trouble that went into this album, “Manifesto”, it felt as though this release was never going to hit store shelves. After recording the album, the band couldn’t find a label that was willing to sign them and distribute the album until Century Media finally came to their aid. Add onto that the loss of their bass player and the addition of a new one – and it just seemed the band was going up shit creek. But finally, “Manifesto” made it to stores and cult held status of this eclectic band was put to the test – with somewhat disappointing results.
After their underground success with their oddly enticing effort, “The Spore”, OPIATE FOR THE MASSES looked ready to take the Hard Rock/Metal world by storm with their unique blend of Industrial, Punk, and Metal music. But instead, “Manifesto” is quite the display of mediocrity and radio friendly blandness – very unlike the band I came to love a little over a year ago.
“Manifesto” still is a blend of Industrial sampling, a Hard Rock catchiness, and Metal attitude but all of the quirkiness that made their previous album so enjoyable is gone. Firstly, the songwriting seems to be watered down for easy consumption by a greater audience. There occasionally is a moment that sounds like their old selves, see the opening track “21st Century Time Bomb”, but the album quickly falls into bland riffs, clichéd lyrics, and overall disappointment.
And the production on the album, from a usually very good producer Ulrich Wild, seems to subdue any of the quirkiness that made them memorable. Sampling is low key, the bass lines are overpowering, and the guitars feel as though they are bound to just be background noise. I was shocked as the lack of the band’s own unique blend on this album.
To say I was disappointed in “Manifesto” is an understatement. Maybe I held this band a little too highly with their last release. I just think it’s a shame for the band for them to have come down to a level like this.
Songs to check out: “21st Century Time Bomb”, “Lie”, “Dead Underground”.
(Online September 8, 2008)