The return of nu-metal to the scene is not an unexpected one. Bands like Cane Hill started popping up a couple of years ago, and due to the cyclical nature of influences, the return of the latter nineties was overdue (notwithstanding the fact the nu-metal was the single biggest commercial period for metal of recent history). Nor is the return of nu-metal a bad thing. So, enter, tentatively in any case, Cold Snap, who have earned their spot on the Nuclear Blast’s imprint label, Arising Empire, for All Our Sins, their fourth album overall, through sporting means, the Croatian nu-Metalcore crew winning their deal via a competition.
Leaning on the Metalcore trope of launching an album with an aggressive track that doesn’t reflect the rest of the music to come fails in some respects, though ‘Hesto and Pujto’ has its share of hostile charm. Yet it’s the one-two punch that comes next that turns, and snaps, necks as the pairing of ‘Fallen Angels’ and ‘Nothing’ prove that Cold Snap can write a quality contemporary metal track, as both pinch from Soulfly and Spineshank and package a combination of all of those sorts of things into a couple of really good, groove metal numbers that sit this side of Bad Wolves with meaningful hooks and powerful delivery. Oh, yes, the expectations and hackles are up…
Sadly, though, the rest of All Our Sins is one helluva mixed bag, but, it must be said, one that stays on the right side of decent most of the way through. The addition of a second (entirely superfluous, one has to say) vocalist, to bring more growls and bellows to their sound, and a focusing on streamlined, “more straightforward” sound sets the tone for the band to launch the next phase of their career.
But, like a sumo wrestler against a cruiserweight, they simply don’t have the cardio-chops or staying power, and it’s a stumble, then a snowballing tumble, downhill from there: ‘2 4 The System’ and ‘Crawling’ would have been too generic even for Digimortal, ‘Witness Of Your Sickness’ ends up as a standard, if endearing, groove metal outing, ‘No We’re Not Even’ owes a debt to Slipknot’s ‘I Am Hated’, and ‘Pain Parade’ is two shit songs clumsily stapled together, where the potential hook is squandered.
Many assume it was the silly beards and cod-bondage outfits of a legion of twats that killed nu-metal. Yet what really sucked the life out of what is, essentially, the use of huge grooves and alternative and electronic influences (which cannot, by definition, be a bad thing), and what plagues the issue of the reintegration of a sound that didn’t just die but imploded and collapsed upon itself in a bloated mess, was the writhing mass of uninspired and insipid song-writers that thought that some blue facial hair crafted in a wacky way, mixed with dogshit, misogynistic cliches bellowed over one repeating sub-‘Walk’ riff, was a surefire way to success.
To Cold Snap’s credit, image is not an issue (in neither a positive, nor negative way for they are as visually bland as muesli), but what is, is a reliance on uninspiring methods of groove rather than using it as a consistently high-quality tool, despite some flashes of genuine promise. They prove on a handful occasions they have the chops to rise above the mire of mediocrity, yet seem content to dumb themselves down and put out standard fare, which is probably even more frustrating than if they weren’t able to do better at all.