The band made most famous by their early hit Bodies are back with a new singer, some killer tunes and a fire in their soul. Yes, it’s Drowning Pool.
It’s just over ten years since original vocalist Dave Williams died of a rare heart condition. Resilience is therefore a fitting title for a band that have proved to have so much more to offer than just that one song.
Originally finding fame on the Ozzfest tour back in 2001, it was just a few months later that Williams was found on the band’s tour bus. After Jason Jones fronted the band for a short stint it was SOiL’s Ryan McCombs that has held the position – until last year when he returned to the Chicago metallers. Resilience is the first album to feature new man Jasen Moreno and you have to say he’s done a fine job making his own mark while being sympathetic to the Drowning Pool style.
There is a slight fear with opener Anytime Anyplace that the band may have traded in their renowned full sound and fuzzed guitar for something leaner and meaner. The pace is right where it should be but it has a strange starkness that we’re not used to hearing from the New Orleans stalwarts. To be fair as you listen to the whole album it’s more a case of putting something a little different at the start rather than a sea change in what we know and love, and as a track in its own right it does announce Jasen very well indeed, his voice sounding quite youthful but very much in control.
There’s definitely a new edge, but with that familiar guitar back for Die For Nothing (a real belter) things are warming up nicely. After this long making music it’s interesting that the band chose Jasen, his voice has a quality about it that is similar to Matt Tuck from Bullet For My Valentine, he has that same ability to be both clear and raw at the same time. This is brought to the fore on the pure metal assault of Digging These Holes which is followed by the much more hard rock Saturday Night which has a retro feel and, impressively, vocals to match.
There are two tracks which really stand out though, each showing a vastly differing side to band. Broken Again is where Steve Benton’s bass and Mike Luce’s drums get to stand up and be counted, a combination of power and rhythm that’s guaranteed to open up any pit. Coupled with CJ Pierce throwing out some massive power chords and this is sure to be a winner live. Released as a single on the anniversary of the death of original singer Dave Williams, In Memory Of is lifted out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary because of the fact that it is kept so simple. Although a ballad it avoids any hint of becoming overblown, it still retains Drowning Pool‘s character, which is remarkable given the change of pace and the vocals are handled with touching respect. It is a fitting tribute, almost a private moment shared.
In many ways Resilience sees Drowning Pool regain that edge they had with the first album, it may sound different in many ways but the overall effect is that of a band making music with renewed vigour.
They were by no means slouches with Ryan, they made some great albums but sometimes a change is needed – or is enforced – and bringing in Jasen has proved to be inspired. Let’s hope the next ten years are as productive as the last.