Lay The Smack Down

Too Bad

Independent release, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


One of the things I hate the most about this job is having to give negative reviews of independent artists. It almost seems unfair for me to say something bad about a disc that an artist or group poured their time, money, sweat and tears into, and undoubtedly feel quite proud about.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

But in the case of Too Bad, a Florida group comprised of brothers Tracy and Troy Schmelzer, that's exactly the position I find myself in. Their four-song EP, Lay The Smack Down, fails to impress, and shows the limitations of the group all too clearly.

The act - Tracy on lead vocals and bass, Troy on guitars and bass, and drummer Tim See - is in the heavy metal vein, though the mixing of the album leaves very little bite in the music. I thought the disc was mixed too softly (something I do hear often in demos), and there wasn't enough treble to really add some punch to the guitar work.

But the one thing that desparately needs fixing that can't be touched up in the mix is Tracy Schmelzer's singing. Sometimes, it seems like the riff he's singing is for an entirely different song, and doesn't go with what he and the rest of Too Bad are playing ("Wake Up"). Other times, he's just off-key - and painfully so ("Shadows Always There" - and, for that matter, "Wake Up").

Unfortunately, there's not much on Lay The Smack Down that holds out any promise. Although Tracy Schmelzer's leads provide a little sunlight in the storm, he makes the mistake of cutting them off too early and allowing the rhythm guitar to carry the remainder of the bridge. Granted, reproducing this live would be a greater challenge should Too Bad remain a trio, but in the studio, I would have liked to have heard the leads stretch out a bit.

Lay The Smack Down is a disc that regrettably shows that not all bands are cut out for the big time. Too Bad, I'm sure, gave it their all on this one, but the end result was too... well, it wasn't good.

Rating: D

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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