Just looking around for new music, I was fortunate enough to stumble across These 5 Down. Sounding akin to Korn or Staple, These 5 Down bring the heavy nu-metal sound I enjoy so much. Friction starts out with the blistering "Got Your Back," proving right away they've got some serious power in them. "Got Your Back" is probably my favorite track; starting out with screams and rapped vocals, it should satisfy any nu-metal fan. Unfortunately, they slow down a bit for the second track, "NU America." Although a decent track, I didn't appreciate it near as much as its predecessor, and found "NU America" to be rather bland, like it should just be background music. The third track, "Forgiveness," is one that reminds me of Korn, vocally, a lot. More interesting than "NU America," but coming in at about five minutes, I thought the song could have been cut a little shorter. Track four, "I Can't Wait," is where the big downfall of Friction starts to show. While I thoroughly enjoy his screaming, the lead singer's singing tends to become annoying, and this song demonstrates that.
Fortunately, "Breathe" picks the record right back up; being another favorite, it showcases a sweet metal section at around the two-minute, forty second mark. I wish they would have made he rest of the song as intense, but having it calm until then helped bring the intensity. This makes it sound much like RED's typical song structure, or more closely Brian 'Head' Welch, as they both are Korn styled bands. "It Ain't Right" brings the intensity all the way through, making for a good listen, but it still wasn't as strong as the album opener. "Down" is another filler track, but "Do You Wanna" gets things back on track. Right up there with "Got Your Back," "Do You Wanna" brings the metal with slightly rapped vocals. "Deception" possesses a bit of a different sound, breaking away from the angst in the rest of the songs. It's a good change of pace, but it does feel a little out of place with the rest, at least until the screaming comes in later on. "Special .37" is decent, but having a minute long outro of rather boring music isn't my idea of a good listen (Minute long guitar solo outro= yes. Minute long continuation of background music= no).
Finally, the bonus track, "Low," as heard on their self-titled album, is a nice addition. It has interesting lyrics, and I really enjoy how it picks up after the first chorus. It's good song to add to Friction and a fine finale.
I really did enjoy the lead singer's screaming/growling, and also in general, when he drops his voice down. But unlike the band Disturbed, who's singer, David Draiman, has the ability to spit out the fast vocals as well as hit the notes so wonderfully, These 5 Down should stick to the more hardcore side.
But there's more problems than just the vocals not being very extravagant. The production isn't great; it doesn't have the clear crisp sound you might find in a new recording, and it sounds older overall. It sounds like it's from the wave of nu-metal - not terrible, just not beautiful. That's not necessarily a bad thing if your heart is left with that time period of music, but I would have appreciated a more modern Brian Welch, Save Me From Myself sound.
Also, being so unknown, it is nearly impossible to find the lyrics for this record. Being someone who loves to read the lyrics beforehand, and usually needs the lyrics to know what they're really saying, this was a huge downfall. It also makes me unable to comment on the quality of the lyrics. But the worst part of all is that they have broken up, and it would have been amazing if they had gotten to keep making new music.
I'm not sure if I've made it sound like a good or bad record, but overall, I found Friction to be a good addition to my music library, so I'd really recommend picking it up off iTunes for $8.00 (Or at least buying "Got Your Back" and "Do You Wanna" if you don't wanna go all-out).JFH Reader Review: Review date: 3/16/11, written by Mark Mauer for Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Absolute Records
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