Bastard Complex


Prosthetic / Metal Blade Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


With the rise in popularity of any particular genre of music, there are bound to be scores of groups who flood the scene and try to create some noise for themselves. For lack of a better description, I'd classify groups like Limp Bizkit (whose albums I have, in an, aah, alternative format, waiting for review) as "anger rock" - that is, groups who pour their fury into their music, creating an intense sound.

I'd like to say that Spite and their effort my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Bastard Complex are worthy of comparison to groups like Limp Bizkit - but I can't. You see, it takes more than distorted power chords and obscenity-laden screaming to make "anger rock," and Spite just don't seem to have grasped that yet.

For this four-piece group from North Carolina seems to know how to make a lot of noise and shout a lot - but so what? Anyone can do that. Where Bastard Complex shuts down is that it all fails to come together; whether that's due to songwriting or the performances, I'm not quite sure yet.

There is one song where everything does seem to magically come together - "Calipornia". The lyrical content isn't the strongest that I've ever heard, but the band - vocalist Chris Boone, guitarist Dan Young, bassist John Pratt and drummer Byron McDonald - are able to keep things interesting throughout the song. Too bad that they didn't reprise that magic for the bulk of Bastard Complex - but at least there is one bright light that shines in the darkness.

While Spite's online bio compares them to groups like Rage Against The Machine and Korn, there is one major difference between Spite and these bands: often, they lack melody and structure in their songs. On tracks like "Box Of Chocolates," "Me And Slim" and "Thin And Getting Thinner," it almost seems like the songs are releases of anger for anger's sake. The problem is, if you want to get a point across in these songs, there should be some semblance of structure somewhere. (Brother, say that one five times fast.) While these songs might have had the ability to be powerful instruments for Boone to get his views across, in the end they sound fragmented and unfocused. Somehow, I don't think that was what Spite wanted the final outcome of Bastard Complex to be.

However, I don't want to write this group off, 'cause I have this nagging feeling after listening to Bastard Complex that they have the potential to be something special. If only this disc showed that potential right of the bat.

Rating: D+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Christopher Thelen 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 Prosthetic / Metal Blade Records, and is used for informational purposes only.