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Drowning Pool Desensitized

By Ashley Ramirez, Contributor
Monday, May 17, 2004 @ 11:43 AM

(Wind Up)

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“The things I believe in most are my family, my friends and music. They haven't let me down yet." - Dave Williams 1972-2002

If they gave out awards for most inspirational band, Drowning Pool would probably win. In 2001, this new heavy metal band from Texas had a huge hit with their ode to moshers called "Bodies." After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 in a total PC move Clear Channel removed over 10,000 songs from their play rotations and "Bodies" was one of them. The members of Drowning Pool took the news in stride and decided to release a new song/video, which in hindsight was a brilliant move. The move lead them to more exposure and they even landed a slot on the summer spectacular Ozzfest two years in a row.

Sadly, on the morning of Aug. 14, 2002 Dave Williams, the band’s charismatic lead singer, was found dead on the band’s tour bus. The remaining band members -- guitarist C.J. Pierce, Drummer Mike Luce, and Bassist Stevie Benton -- were devastated and pondered whether to move on or quit. They decided to move on, keeping the band name and even recorded a track for the Daredevil Soundtrack with Rob Zombie.

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They eventually found their new frontman, a former tattoo artist named Jason “Gong” Jones. How Gong’s, along with Damageplan vocalist Patrick Lachman, vocal talents were kept secret for so long is baffling. In a quote by C.J. Pierce: "Gong has a voice and personality unlike any other." And it shows all over the release of their new CD Desensitized.

1) "Think" -- Very brutal song to kickstart the disc. "Think about your life, you wouldn't give it up, before you're led off to the slaughter you ought to." Great riffs, thunderous drumming and powerful growls by Gong that would make Phil Anselmo feel like a proud papa. Perfect song to start off the album.

2) "Step Up" -- This is their first release, which also appeared on the Punisher soundtrack. Kinda of commercial but still brutally heavy with a cool solo. I read that there was supposed to be a DVD of this video in both PG-13 and X-rated versions but I've yet to see it. Interesting side note: the hot oiled-up blonde stroking the baseball bat who adorns the CD cover is adult film star Jesse Jane, who's body of work includes Jack's Playground 3 and 8, Busty Cops and Loaded, stars in the "Step Up" video. Check her out -- she's not only hot, but a Texas girl as well. www.jessejane.com.

3)"Numb" -- A melodic song with Gong slowing the pace down a bit, but fear not, still quite intense and, damn this guy sure can do some great metal growls.

4) "This Life" -- A very emotional song along the lines of Pantera's "Hollow." I love this line in the song: "This life, it's bringing the death of me, swear that I can barely see that I'm the one to blame." "This life I swear to god it's killing me."

5) "Nothingness" -- One of my favorite tracks on the disc. One thing I found interesting on this one is the opening of the song reminded me of "Tear Away" off the debut album Sinner, then the riff turns AC/DC-esque. Another very emotional song with chilling lyrics. "The emptiness is building from the nothingness that we've all become, and this road I've chosen has taken its toll leading far away from the soul."

6) "Bringing Me Down" -- Another cool heavy track, title is pretty self explanatory. You're in a relationship/friendship and the other person is a fucking prick but you try to be cool and then you come to your boiling point. "How much more will it take – ‘til I break and I drive that stake right into that thing you call your heart?"

7) "Love And War" -- Another one of my favorite tracks. It's one of their slower songs that is reminiscent of an ‘80s metal band, think Motley Crue's "Danger."

8) "Forget" -- This is what I like to refer as their anti-depressant song. The song is very uplifting, good to listen to if you're feeling down. More powerful vocals by Gong and a powerful solo by C.J. Pierce stand out in the song.

9) "Cast Me Aside" -- This song could be an anthem for the metal groups of the ‘80s. "Now you want to cling to the next big thing, be part of the scene and ride the big machine. Well it ain't gonna work out that way, what, who, where were you when I was down on my luck? You know you never gave a fuck." Gong's voice really shows some emotion on the song. This is one of the heavier tracks.

10) " Killin' Me" -- This song kind of baffles me. Check out this lyric: "I swear sometimes I think this life is killin' me and I swear it's killin' me." Close to the same lyrics as "This Life," like maybe they were going for a ten-minute epic then at the last second broke it into two songs.

11) "Hate" -- What better way to end a CD then with an anti-religion/blind faith song? "Forget about judgment day, ignorance is bliss, so raise your fist and say, hate." Easily the best anti-religion/blind faith song since A Perfect Circle's "Judith."

Some CD's have a lot of hype upon being released and then doesn't deliver… Desensitized had minimal hype but delivered big time. Fans of old school and new school metal will enjoy this CD. No, it won't be everyone’s cup of tea and if you somehow hear nu-metal in this then please make an appointment with an audiologist or a psychiatrist. Drowning Pool has put out a brutal, emotional, and heavy piece of art, and you can bet right now that somewhere someway, Dave Williams is looking on with a smile on his face.

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