By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Haven't we metal before?
Sweettit, Stink!#Bug's second long-player, is an album made at the crossroads where metal meets everything else (funk, rap, industrial) and leaves with a gig bag full of hyphens. It's a mishmash of styles that bounces from white thrash to scratch-and-riff metal to paint-by-numbers industrial, with a couple of cans of Korn thrown in for good measure. It's an Idiot's Guide to Modern Metal, sounding like a handful of other bands on the surface, the sides, and the middle. Consistent only in its inconsistency, the album wears its considerable list of influences (Suicidal Tendencies, Limp Bizkit, Korn, early Metallica) like a sleeve tattoo, including a little bit of everything and ending up with a whole lot of nothing.
Most of the nothing can be found in the lyrics, a grab bag of misogynistic cliches and shock politics that would barely pass muster at an Andrew Dice Clay concert. Featuring such memorable lines as "Tasty pussy / So juicy, that's the way she said you'd be" (from the threesome-gone-wrong tale "Tongueleaded") and "Strip, rip, rape, make yours / Perfection pumping through all my pores" (off of the album-opening cut "Pseudo You"), the album never rises above the sophistication of a habitual sex offender at a strip club two days after being paroled. It's stupid and offensive, even though most of the words are obscured by singer-guitarist Jeremiah's shredded-tonsil bark. When he sings about taking out his frustrations by nailing an anonymous "tit-bar rat" (on "Sugar Cookie"), it's hard to tell whether Jeremiah is being serious or playing a character; the picture inside the jewel case--a well-endowed young lady squeezing her, uh, attributes--is a pretty good clue that satire is not the band's strong suit.
The band isn't that skilled at theft either. Some of the riffs on the album have been so blatantly lifted that the band might find itself in some legal trouble if they sell enough copies. The central guitar line of "Some Mud" borrows so heavily from Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name" that it could be a sample, and "Soda Pop" could be a White Zombie outtake if it weren't for the hair-metal guitar solo that pops up toward the end. The boogie-punk-metal of "Mexico" owes enough to the Toadies that Todd Lewis should start seeing some very small royalty checks in the near future. (It makes you wonder whether the Toadies' rehearsal space at the Last Beat complex is next door to Stink!#Bug's.)
Every song is traceable to its source before the first chorus comes around, and by the end, it's hard to believe that you weren't, in fact, listening to an OzzFest sampler. I guess it's kind of a consolation prize for all those people who are crying into their white-boy dreads because Ozzy decided to take the metal circus elsewhere this year.