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Reviews

Noise Therapy Tension

By Jeff Kerby, Contributor
Saturday, January 4, 2003 @ 11:15 AM


(Redline)

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I fucking hate therapy of any kind.

Honestly, the last time I went in to the head shrinkers was about three years ago when I tried to burn down my geriatric neighbor’s trailer with three cans of gasoline and a book of battered matches. What can I say? The jackass pissed me off, and I hated his little poodle because it never EVER shut the hell up either. In retrospect, the redundancy of the barking probably did contribute to my desire to smite my elderly enemy with a hellish vengeance. Even though the whole scenario seemed perfectly understandable to me, the battery of tests and questions I had to undergo seemed focused on me analyzing and identifying my antisocial behavior so that I could improve myself in my dealings with others. After I finished the program, I was diagnosed as cured, but all it really convinced me of was that I also hate psychologists and if one ever moved next door to me in the future, I’d probably try to burn his shit down, too.

Now, with the definitive stigma placed on most nu-metal bands—rightfully so in many cases—it is difficult these days for a group to be heard and get seen as anything more than just another assembly line knockoff designed for consumption by the masses. When I first found out that Noise Therapy played rock and hailed from Canada, I just naturally assumed that here was another Creed/Default knockoff. Since I knew I couldn’t handle another one of those, I was never able to muster up the motivation to get around to listening to Tension when it was released a couple months ago. Then, one day I happened to find myself stuck in a long, long traffic delay, and I had forgot most of my CD’s at work. The only thing I found to listen to in the Pinto that afternoon turned out to be Noise Therapy’s American debut, which a friend of mine had won at a local radio promotion. I decided to pop it into my old school Discman as the sun shone through my window that afternoon because the local radio stations were playing nothing but commercials, and I ended up being surprised by the sounds that reverberated in my car. The first selection, “Get Up,” is an energetic introduction to the band’s sound which includes some of the standard start-stop nu-metal elements, but unlike many other bands in the genre, Noise Therapy actually has a collection of hooks on this offering that are bound to stay inside your head long after the power has been turned off.

Lead singer Dave Ottoson’s vocals also prove to be an important part of their varied sound. He actually sings sometimes! Tunes like “G-Hole,” “Far Away” and “In My World” each demonstrate that Noise Therapy is a band that understands that in order for Tension to be interesting in any way, it must include some variance in the songs, either lyrically or musically, from what’s currently out there. It’s true that lyrically the band explores many of the same topics as other bands do—personal alienation and rebellion--but musically Noise Therapy deviates from the norm by taking some of the energy of nu-metal and combining it with solid harmonies and a sense of song structure that makes for a collection of tunes that turns out to be a quality laden amalgam of what is actually good about some of the music that has been made during the last decade while leaving out most of the bad.

Once the final track “Standing in the Dark” fades away and the disc ends, it should be pretty obvious that these guys have been playing for awhile—eight years in fact—and are more than proficient as a band. They have also recorded a significant amount of other material before their debut in this country as well as having garnered the opening slot on Motley Crue’s reunion tour in 1999. Now, as they are gearing up for a stint with Ill Nino, Noise Therapy should get the opportunity to showcase what makes them different from many of the other bands out there who sport tattoos, piercings, and assorted basketball jerseys. Although their sound has the potential to break big on the radio at some point, it still retains enough edginess as to not make you feel as though you’re having to completely submerge your heavy metal ideals in order to listen to them. Don’t let the comparisons with bands like Drowning Pool or Linkin Park mask what this is—a record that is actually just plain cool to listen to while sitting in your Pinto…or burning your neighbor’s house down. If regular therapy had been as beneficial to me as Noise Therapy, maybe I wouldn’t have hated it so much.

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