Despite having quite a bit of hype behind them, MUSHROOMHEAD has yet to ever really claim any kind of fame to their name besides the continual and strangely unfair comparisons to SLIPKNOT. Perhaps this is due to the fact that it’s hard to predict exactly what this band is going to do. They have never been all that consistent in their music direction or styling and even on “Savior Sorrow”, their third album since going into the mainstream, the band tends to be going too many directions all at once.
Of course, MUSHROOMHEAD fans understand that the band was built to explore ideas of music. Yet that still doesn’t fully explain some of the choices that the band made on “Savior Sorrow” which is their most radio friendly album to date. Instead of progressing with their music, this album has the band retreating into simplicity and a more general Nu Metal vibe than ever before. This is by far their most mediocre album they have recorded and it’s hard to say that they recorded it that way in an attempt to push and explore boundaries of music.
Attributing to this mediocrity is the band’s seemingly loss of all energy. Where “XX” and “XIII” had great energy to back all of their unusual choices in influences and direction, “Savior Sorrow” lacks a lot of the great energy to keep the music moving. A few songs do have a great vibe to them including the kick-it-off opener “1200”, the catchy single-esque “Simple Survival” and the groove inspired “Tattoo”, but beyond those, many of the songs just lack a lot of the ‘oomph’ to get the band to where they need to be.
Another new element to the MUSHROOMHEAD agenda on this album would be new vocalist Waylon Reavis. When J. Mann left prior to this album, I was a little distraught. The two vocalist approach worked quite well for the band and finding a person that could have the chemistry with Jeffrey Nothing would be tough. As it turns out, Waylon is not only a great match for Nothing but he also sings better than Nothing too. He can sing, growl, croon, roar, and as an added bonus he rarely does the rapping that was a major influence with Mann. He’s a versatile weapon on this album but I don’t think the band used him enough to really diversify the music on this album, which is a shame.
MUSHROOMHEAD has always been an interesting listen even if they wind up on the down side of the coin. They don’t fear taking chances with their music but some of the choices made on “Savior Sorrow” could have been thought through in a more thorough manner. The addition of Waylon on vocals was the best choice and one of the few reasons to listen to this album. Otherwise just stick to the few standout tracks and wait for the next album.
Songs to check out: “Pretending”, “1200”, “Simple Survival”.
(Online December 17, 2008)