Album Review by Mark Bayross
The Used have been getting a fair few column inches recently, and not just because lead singer Bert McCracken has been stepping out with Kelly Osbourne. Hailing from the – presumably godawful – conservative backwater of Orem, Utah, the band are a ball of rage from the word go. However, the catharsis found here is different from those other infamous smalltown escapees, Slipknot, in that this is coloured by flashes of wistful melancholy.
McCracken’s vocals dominate throughout, as he flits from melodic singing to all-out screaming over crunchy riffs and pogoing bass. From the slamming MAYBE MEMORIES and A BOX FULL OF SHARP OBJECTS to the punky THE TASTE OF INK and the weepy BLUE AND YELLOW, this is hardcore brought bang up to date, with emo and metal thrown into the mix.
Add to all of this some truly beautiful string arrangements (ON MY OWN; the appropriately-named POETIC TRAGEDY) and raw-to-the-bone lyrics – BURIED MYSELF ALIVE builds into a blood-curdling climax of ”If you want me back you’re gonna have to ask nicer than that” – and you have a debut album of impressive passion and intelligence.
Fans of Helmet, Glassjaw or Refused will definitely enjoy what’s on offer here, and there’s enough variety to hold the interest – I can’t help but think that Ozzy would approve.