Smile Empty Soul

MRAfia Records, 2017


REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


Okay, hands up, who remembers Smile Empty Soul? They came around at the very tail end of nu metal and rap rock circa 2003 with a sound more metal than emo, but with just the right dash of emotion in the lyrics to connect with an audience. They had a few hits like “Bottom Of A Bottle” and “Nowhere Kids,” but today they’re wandering the earth, jumping from tiny label to tiny label still making music and hoping their small fan base still enjoys it.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Rarities is a collection of b-sides and outtakes taken from their entire career, several of which were already released on a fan collection about ten years ago. The opening track “One At A Time” has a nice quiet intro that gives way to a full-on rocker with halfway decent vocals. The melody running through is really the song’s saving grace. I never thought a whole hell of a lot about these guys and songs like this are why. It’s interesting that on a song like “Alone,” the band shows why they should be remembered for—acoustic numbers rather than assault-rockers that go nowhere. The music here is more suited for those with better taste than listening to nu metal wannabes like No One or dragpipe.

“This Is War” is a protest song, but coming from a band like this, it feels hackneyed and forced. The other songs here are just bland and not worth talking about; you can feel the teenage angst in some of these tracks, but when you’re older, stuff like this just reminds you of high school. Ah, the teenage wasteland of angst and depression when music like this spoke to you.

Even the band’s choice of covers are weird and varied. They turn Tori Amos’ “Precious Things” into a heavy rager that just doesn’t work, and their version of Nirvana’s “Aneurysm” sounds like a garage band hammering away at a b-side. Don’t even get me started on Sarah McLachlan’s “Possession,” which takes the spirit and melancholy of the original and just bludgeons the hell out of it.

Needless to say, this record is a waste. If it wasn’t for “Alone,” it would get a lower grade but one song has saved it from complete oblivion. Just a worthless amount of crap to go through for one great song.

Rating: C-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2017 Pete Crigler and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of MRAfia Records, and is used for informational purposes only.