Full Circle

Drowning Pool

Wind-Up, 2007

http://www.drowningpool.com

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/08/2007

There are few songs like "Bodies," Drowning Pool's anthem that previously got attention as a theme for ECW, and that's a good thing. The songs on this album will someday be viewed as a single step for a band that has matured considerably since vocalist Dave Williams was found dead.

New vocalist Ryan McCombs, who came from Soil, handles the lead vocals on this release with conviction -- as if he should have always been in this role. Opener "Full Circle" is a declaration of an immediate hostile take-over as he sings "You think it's over / Well I've come too far / To back down now." Later, using Metallica's "No Remorse" from nbtc__dv_250 Kill 'Em All as the foundation for the lyrics, McCombs sings, "No remorse / no regrets / Ain't got time for the simple-minded bullshit." The other members of the band -- guitarist C.J. Pierce, bassist Stevie Benton, and drummer Mike Luce -- join McCombs in an aggressive performance.

The momentum and hostility continues with both "Enemy" and "Shame," completing an impressive triad of aggression to open the release. The acoustic guitar foundation laid down in "Reborn" establishes a different dimension of the band: "The hell I've been through / I've seen my face at the bottom of a bottle" is personal and gut-wrenching. The stirring call-to-arms anthem "Soldiers" is sure to be a crowd-pleaser in these times of war.

But it's "37 Stitches" that gets me with every listen, descending yet another level to a darker place thatn the hell described in "Reborn." In this track, the performances by guitarist Pierce and drummer Luce are amazing, digging into the emotion. The guitar solo provides a soulful interlude to the conclusion of this track and contrasts sharply with the lackluster filler "Duet."

The conclusion of this release is a cover of Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell." I was surprised the band still opted for the 80s synth in their version. Hearing no other keyboards on this release on any of the other songs, I had a preconceived notion that they would use electric guitar for the synth in the verse of this song. It works fine but it seems like the band could have made the song theirs a little more by making the song conform to their lineup.

Drowning Pool's future is crystal clear. They will dominate and overcome whatever barriers confront them. Their resolve in recruiting McCombs to replace their fallen comrade shows a commitment to their art, which is a mixture of heart, compassion and hostility.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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