Saturday, October 12, 2002

Review: Midline - Midline (2002)

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Formed in Boise, Idaho, in 1990, Midline is another post-grunge semi-metallic band with similarities to Nickelback, 3 Doors Down, Soundgarden, etc. Prior to this, their self-titled national debut, they released two self-financed albums that were popular within the Northwest music scene and propelled them into tours with Drowning Pool, Mötley Crüe, and Coal Chamber. Though Midline falls into a crowded genre, they're not without uniqueness as nearly every song on the disc contains a different catchy hook or melody. Despite this, the overall pace of the album seems a bit sluggish and bereft of energy. The tempo within each song is altered, with a slow weightiness that builds in speed and aggression before returning to the starting pace. For example, the first track "Never Wrong" opens with a leisurely rhythmic beat then explodes into an engaging riff before returning to the slow and steady cadence. In fact, the structure of the album somewhat mirrors this trend, with slower-paced almost ballad-like tracks at the beginning and end of the disc, with a set of powerful rockers among the middle cuts. This consistency results in a smooth, if predictable, flow but a sense of sameness was enough for me to require a couple of spins before I was able to pick out the subtleties of guitarist Scott Elliot's songcraft.

As far as stand out tunes go, I found "Sorrow" to be the most aggressive, powerful, and heavy-hitting tune on the album. Elliot's heavy riffing is a perfect compliment to singer Anthony Fagiano's deeply emotive vocals. This track exhibits the band at its best, and should be the focus of their future musical inspiration. The following song, "The Good Life", doesn't come close to the outright energy of "Sorrow" but is superbly heavy in its own right. This sort of heaviness and aggression can be found here and there throughout the disc, but it still tends to be overshadowed by the overall lack of energy.

Appropriately named, Midline tends to be a mediocre album that offers nothing to separate itself from the hundreds of modern rock clones cluttering the radio waves today. I would suggest that the band open up a little more and pour some serious aggression, heaviness, and energy into their next offering. This is by no means a bad album, however, but is also not something to get overly excited about either.

Track Listing
1 Never Wrong
2 Blue
3 More Than This
4 Removed
5 The Sun
6 Sorrow
7 The Good Life
8 Bygones
9 One of Many
10 Stay Awake
11 What You Want
12 Another Day
13 Too Long
14 Carney Girl

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