Overall Score: 6.5/10 Songwriting: 7/10 Vocals: 6/10 Lyrics: 6/10 Pros: Drums are great, some phat riffs and DP show no sign of resting on their laurels Cons: No real big anthemic tunes on here, Jasen's vocal style just doesn't quite connect as well as others in the genre
It’s a mildly concerning sign when the main fact about a band’s singer is he is the first to record 3 albums with them, but consistent line up issues aside (including a tragedy), Drowning Pool did manage to churn out 6 albums between 2001 and 2016. Now Strike A Nerve marks their 7th full length album and, as mentioned, their 3rd with vocalist Jasen Moreno, who’s been holding the microphone for the last 10 years.
Guitarist CJ Pierce, has referred to this album as the band’s “most exciting and intense music to date”, which unfortunately isn’t a sentiment felt during opening intro track Doing Time in Hell. Thankfully it’s over quickly before we get to Hate Against Hate, which sounds exactly like you would expect a Drowning Pool track to sound while Stay and Bleed also fits the mould. So far, so nothing groundbreaking.
That’s not to say it’s terrible, but anyone who outgrew Nu-Metal, or perhaps even never cared for it won’t find much in the album’s opening. It’s perhaps a mistake to have waited so long to release the album as it was reported as completed before the world went into lockdown – perhaps new music from a band from many people’s past would have been welcomed with much more open arms than 2 years later once the rockers and metalheads of the world started going back to shows again.
The title track opens with a spaghetti western vibe before the big chorus kicks in, which does have a great vibe for being played live around the globe, but it takes a while to stick with the big rock drums and guitars. When it does though, this is one of the stand out tracks.
Speaking of stand out tracks, there is nothing on this album close to Bodies, Sinner or even Step Up, but that said it seems unfair to compare a band’s work to anything they produced 20 odd years ago, as it’s understandable they would grow and mature as both people and songwriters.
Racing to a Red Light is a good change of pace, still rocking in parts but not quite so aggressively in your face and drummer Mike Luce is consistently good throughout the album. Jasen flexes his vocal muscles a little more on “ballad” Everything But You and Down in the Dirt is another strong track with a good grooving riff driving through it while album closer Mind Right wears its Pantera influence on its sleeve and in exactly the right amount.
Whilst it doesn’t feel like Strike A Nerve is going to launch Drowning Pool back into the mainstream, it is certainly not an album by a band that’s out for the count and if they can keep up the live show momentum then the 2023 festival season could be very good indeed.
The new Drowning Pool album, Strike A Nerve, will be released on September 30th 2022 through T-BOY/UMe.