Full Circle

Drowning Pool

Wind-Up, 2007

http://www.drowningpool.com

REVIEW BY: Ben McVicker

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/21/2008

Full Circle kicks off at such at such a fast pace, you wouldn’t know that Drowning Pool are on their third singer in three studio albums.

The first half of the album, beginning with the title track, is a great mix of groove, energy and attitude, capped with a heavy post-Grunge sound. “Enemy,” likewise, offers a fast, chugging riff backed by tight drumming, and new recruit Ryan McCombs sounds right at home in his debut as Drowning Pool’s new vocalist. McCombs’ gruff, powerful voice steals the show on a few occasions, with “Shame” and “Reborn” featuring some eerie, droning choruses reminiscent of Alice in Chains’ best work.

Sadly, the band the band appears to lose steam and fall into autopilot about five tracks in. "Reason I'm Alive," penned by Nikki Sixx, is a pedestrian, lighter-waving dose of radio rock, while "Paralyzed" is a murky and forgettable ballad. The first single from the album, "Soldiers," has a decent riff, but lacks anything resembling catchiness or melody. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Further, while I've never had a problem with bands getting political, laziness is another issue. By the second chorus of “All for one / Let’s Go! *heavy grunt*” of “This Is For The Soldiers,” any sentiment or message to song is lost in its Neanderthal lyrics.

The remainder of the album houses some dirty diamonds, but never manages to recapture the promise of the opening tracks. "Upside Down" is a formulaic rocker littered with some tasteful licks and some neat riffs, while "37 Stitches" is a haunting tune with a real nice chorus.

But there's a stubborn air of banality to things that refuses to disappear as the band resorts to the most basic of angsty rock formulas for the last handful of tunes. Following two unremarkable rock numbers, one can't help but roll their eyes as Ryan McCombs chants "'Cause I hate you, but I need you / I need you to let me go," to the tune of a Marylin Manson-esque beat in "Duet." Save for the spirited cover of Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell" that closes the album, Drowning Pool appear to have run out of ideas midway through its recording, giving Full Circle a rather hollow feel.

Often, when a band changes lead vocalists it can reignite the creativity and spark a new sound. With Full Circle, Drowning Pool opted to go the safe route instead, staying well within the tried-and-true boundaries of murky post-grunge. At times it actually sounds quite good, but more often than not, there's nothing of note to the songs save for 90s nostalgia.

The title of Full Circle is a fitting one for this album, as it feels like the band has effectively mined the past for sounds and ideas while offering little new for the present.

Rating: C+

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