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Cold

Year Of The Spider (2003)

cover

Track listing:

  1. Remedy
  2. Suffocate
  3. Cure My Tragedy (A Letter To God)
  4. Stupid Girl
  5. Donít Belong
  6. Wasted Years
  7. Whatever You Became
  8. Sad Happy
  9. Rain Song
  10. The Day Seattle Died
  11. Change The World
  12. Black Sunday
  13. Kill The Music Industry

Year Of The Spider, Coldís third album, is thick with memorable, hard-rocking melodies. Vocalist Scooter Ward delivers a solid performance, singing in low and soothing tones as well as harsher, angrier ones, weaving in and out of vocal harmonies that make parts of the album reminiscent of Alice In Chains. Guitarists Kelly Hayes and Terry Balsamo play some interesting overlapping lines and well thought out licks, and, in fact, the whole band interlocks very well, presenting a tight and unified front.

Throughout the album, Scooter Wardís lyrics are heart-felt and very forthcoming. The songs are about specific events in Scooterís difficult personal life, plagued, amongst other things, by his sisterís struggle with cancer, which he wishes he could suffer in her place ("Wonít you take and give her pain to me", Scooter sings in "Cure My Tragedy (A Letter To God)"). Scooter vents his frustration about relationships that canít work, perhaps because both parties arenít equally in love, or because of a lack of honesty. At the same time there is a longing for such relationships to survive because of the fear of facing life alone (the opening line of the album states "I donít love how you love but please donít leave me here alone"), and the good times and warmth that can come of them. "The Day Seattle Died" comments on the states of mind of Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley before they died, hinting that they were both incapable of handling their fame and iconic status, but also that we must blame the pressure placed on them by society for their downfalls. Other subjects touched on are regret, in "Wasted Years", and rape, in "Sad Happy". Despite the misery that clouds Scooterís lyrics, the light at the end of tunnel can be found in many of his words. Relationships may go wrong, but Scooter is determined to push ahead.

Perhaps the stand-out track is "Suffocate", which features guest vocalist Sierra Swan. For the chorus, Scooter and Sierra play the parts of boyfriend and girlfriend in a familiar sounding argument about honesty. Scooter accuses her of lying and being fake, which she denies. The contrast between the clean, plucked guitars of the verse and the chunky, overdriven strummed chords of the chorus emphasize that the latter is where the lovers' tiff takes place. The last chorus begins with only the vocals and drums, which sound surprisingly good alone, before being rejoined by the rest of the band for the finish. At the time of writing, October 2004, you can hear this song for free just by visiting Cold's website (it should start playing automatically).

One criticism about Year of the Spider is that it sounds a little bit over-produced and somewhat musically unadventurous. Although the band members play all their parts very well, no-one ever really lets loose: no wild screaming anguish by the vocals, no uncontrolled feedback on the guitars, no particularly interesting drum rolls or rhythmic variations. This does not contradict the quality of the band's playing over all, which as mentioned above is solid, but a sprinkling of these elements here and there would have made the album just that little bit more interesting.

If youíre looking for something new and original, donít buy this album, as this has all been done before. However, Year Of The Spider has been the most-played album of late in my collection, and I would highly recommend it to those of you who like catchy melodies laid over thick guitar rock.

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