One of the harder things a reviewer will be forced to do at one time or another is review an album by an artist that he or she holds in extremely high regard. Because of the already inherent bias towards liking the artist, examining the album critically becomes enormously difficult, and sometimes cannot even be done without the bias guiding the way. Conversely, it can also be hard for a reviewer to review something he or she already knows will be bad because it then becomes hard to hear anything that might be redeeming or worthwhile through the foggy glasses of jadedness already in place against the artist.
And then there are albums, such as Children of Chaos, by Soulidium, which are just plain bad regardless of what you think going into it. I’m sure that given the right amount of publicity and promotional push this disc could be huge, but huge in all the ways that educated music listeners hate. These guys could be the next rock saviors of the NASCAR watching, Coors Lite drinking, mullet wearing, backwater hick, conservative Republican, IQ of 83 type crowd. Packing together the blandness of the last Breaking Benjamin album with the occasional stomp of Disturbed and mixing in a heavy dose of Hinder styled modern power rock ballads along with some quasi-post-grunge overly distorted riffs, Soulidium is poised to join the ranks of Three Days Grace, Nickelback, and Smile Empty Soul as staples of the butt-rock world.
It would be very lax of me to not point out the one good thing this album has going for it, and there should be no facetiousness read into this -- there is actually something good to be found here. “Live Forever” is a solid modern rock song that puts the rest of the album to shame. Sporting a little middle eastern influence and coming across as a b-side from The Tea Party’s Transmission era, this song feels unnaturally placed alongside the other tracks on this album. It's really too bad there's only one song worthy of a repeat listen on this entire album.
Barring that one thrust above low level mediocrity (which is a generous classification), the rest of the album wallows in the cesspool of blasé cock-rock metal. “Drama” has undeniably laugh out loud lyrics about some girl stalking the singer of the song, a heavy (yet boring) rhythm, some odd out of place screams, and about as much talent on display as a small town high school battle of the bands contest. Right after it is the gag worthy ballad “About You”. Complete with the prerequisite faux strings and 3rd grade poetry for lyrics, any discerning music fan will much sooner have their ears meet the business end of a power drill than listen to anything more from this band.
This album is, hands down, brutal. Not in any positive sense usually associated with metal, but in the literal sense of “it will hurt you and you won't like it.” If you find yourself actually enjoying this band, let me be the first to say that there is no longer any hope for you. Be prepared because if you don’t already love hunting, drive a horribly oversized pick-up truck with a shotgun in the back window, and consider Applebee’s a nice, sit down restaurant, you will soon. There’s no turning back.