I’m gonna level with all you. I own a Godsmack album. OK, fuck… I own two. But it wasn’t my fault. Where (and when) I grew up, the internet was barely a thing and censorship was real. And I don’t mean the Denver/Snider/Zappa type of censoring (though that existed, too). In my religious hometown, music is sold in the next town over, at Walmart. Which meant there weren’t many options. It was a time when possessing censored versions of Korn, Staind, Godsmack, Slipknot, and (fuck me, again) Nickelback records was rebellious. For years, I’ve tried to block this shit out.1 And I thought I was doing pretty good. Until I made a fatal mistake and I picked up the promo from Vagelis Karzis’ (new bassist for Rotting Christ) solo project, Full House Brew Crew. I mean, with a band name like that, I should have known better. You can call me a dumbass all you want, but could an album called Me Against You be that bad?
Well, that depends on if you like your music hard-rocking and Southern, like Brand New Sin; bullying and nose-breaking, like Godsmack; gruff and barking, like Susperia; or poppy, ballady, and cheesy, like Staind and Nickelback. If you don’t, I’ll catch up with you over in the comment section for Funeral Mist‘s TYMHM piece. For those that do like this shit (or can tolerate it), stay with me as I reminisce about my late-night drives home2 from my high school job3 blaring a mixtape4 from the quality cassette player5 and impressive speakers6 of my ’96 Ford F250.7 Good times.
First off, the band’s 2011 debut, Bet It All, is a little misleading. At times, it’s much heavier than Me Against You and includes a lot of Hetfield vox and Load/ReLoad8 flavorings in the riffs. Me Against You cuts back on the Metallica vibes, as well as most of the heavy bluesy, Southern grooves. Instead, Me Against You goes for the in-your-face attitude of Godsmack. And, “Bury Me,” “Bring the Chaos,” and “Me Against You” are Sully Erna wet dreams. All deliver a big, radio-friendly punch that mixes melody with clean/gruff vocals. “Bury Me” and “Bring the Chaos” are the album bullies, getting harder and meaner as they go, while the title track raises the radio-friendly bar. Too bad its big, sappy chorus is so full of “fuck” that my mom’s car stereo would break.
Along with all Godsmack accessibility, you can find Southern metal pieces, like opener “Cannot Be Judged,” and Metallica-tinged rockers, like “Hollow God.” Both are decent tracks and the opener smashes barroom stools like it’s Bet It All-over again. “Not Again” and “The Undisputed” add variety by mixing smooth atmospheres with alternating barks/cleans that, oddly enough, remind me of Fear Factory. Which ain’t a bad thing. What is bad? “Another Life” and “When I Crossed That Door!” Both lay aside the typical influences of Me Against You, opting for the sweet sounds of Staind and Nickelback. “Another Life” ain’t terrible by any means and it’s Staind-like chorus ain’t a five-gallon bucket of sap, but “When I Crossed That Door!” sure as hell is. When the opening chords of the latter kicked in, I almost sent myself and my ’78 Ford F1509 over the guardrail when a time portal opened and the mystical words in its vortex read, “Welcome to 2001.”
In comparison to Bet It All, this is an odd album for the band. It’s still rocking, but the riffs, vocals, and general direction have changed quite a bit. Ditching the Hetfield-like cleans and backing off on the bluesy, Southern vibes, the band chose to inject diversity into their brand of dive-bar rock/metal with sappy ballads and big, melodic choruses. Unfortunately, I don’t enjoy Me Against You as much as the debut—which I still don’t fully enjoy. There are fun tracks here but it doesn’t all work. Not to mention, FHBC will be an immediate turnoff for most metalheads because of their odd love for the late-’90s/early-’00s weirdness.
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: ROAR! Rock of Angels Records
Websites: fullhousebrewcrew.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/fullhousebrewcrew
Releases Worldwide: November 16th, 2018