OAAR: Drowning Pool - Sinner (2001)

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Back in the early 2000's (or as some would say, the aughts), a small band came out of nowhere in much the same way that many otherwise unknown acts came around - movie soundtracks. Drowning Pool was one of those bands. The first single off their debut album, Sinner, showed up in the trailer for the Vin Diesel version of Mission Impossible or James Bond flick for the new "Xtreme" generation, XXX (pronounced Triple X). This first single was a song that would go on to pollute every remotely action oriented movie, but would also launch the careers of friends of Pantera greats Dimebag Darrell (RIP) and Vinnie Paul into the stratosphere with Drowning Pool playing the second stage of 2001's Ozzfest (the first Ozzfest of my storied concert-going history). Shortly after the end of Ozzfest (and only months after Pete and I saw them) and during the beginning of what could have been a fantastic career, a heart defect would claim the life of front man Dave Williams (RIP). So with this in mind, the Opportunity Assassins bring you the only Drowning Pool album featuring the original lineup, Sinner.

The album opens fairly strongly with the title track, "Sinner." We get our first look at what Drowning Pool will be like and to be quite fair, quite a bit of what you'll hear for the rest of the album. This isn't to say that this album is bad, it's just pretty much middle of the road. It's actually unfortunate that "Sinner" is followed up by the aforementioned single, "Bodies," a toxic waste dump of a song that for whatever reason became so insanely popular that you still hear it to this day when someone's beating the shit out of someone. Now that over 10 years have passed I feel comfortable enough to say it once again..."Bodies" is probably one of the top 10 most pervasive shitstorms of a song of all time. Luckily for "Bodies" enough time has passed that I can feel comfortable giving it a 1, simply because it wasn't written or performed by LMFAO.

On the upside, the best song of the album, "Tear Away" washes out all the hurt caused by the previous track.  Williams does a lot of interesting things with either his voice or with the effects throughout the rest of the album, but musically, there's not all that much variation from song to song. The last quality track on the album is "Sermon," not surprisingly, also the second longest track after "Tear Away" and also the second most interesting. It's one of the few tracks that doesn't just go verse, chorus, verse, chorus and actually drops some changes of tempo and tone enough to keep you with it. Also, "Sermon" ends with some foreshadowing of a later Saliva single (and PS3 advert) plus some backwards stuff. Back when Sinner first came out, I actually grabbed down the end of "Sermon" and dropped it in a program to play it backwards and find out what Dave Williams says. Turns out it's "Tell me what you believe." I'll be damned.

Author: Jake

Drowning Pool is one of many turn of the century nĂ¼-metal bands that, a decade from now, will probably fade into obscurity.  Often, this is a result of lacking either the skill or the cojones to experiment with a sound, which, coincidentally, is something we here at Opportunity Assassins regularly rip into bands for.  But you can get an "A" for effort from us even if the experiment fails.  Sadly, Sinner is a foreshadowing of a band spitting out the same song eleven times on an album, so in anticipation of hearing the same shit over and over again we have both given this album an F (see sidebar).

Sinner is not without catchy riffs, solid hooks, and a couple ("Sinner" and "Tear Away") playlist-worthy songs.  But, much like Jake, having lived through the album's release I am unable to wash away the stink of "Bodies", which somehow became a cliche before it became popular, and went on (along with Papa Roach's "Last Resort") to infiltrate every high school hillbilly jock's playlist.  When you're one of two 3 minute breaks from a solid life of country music, you've already sort of abandoned the heavy metal community you sought acceptance from.  I don't begrudge the guys in Drowning Pool their royalty money from the song, which hit it big as a soundtrack offering upon release, but taken in context it's a huge disappointment.  Other up and coming bands (think Mudvayne's "Dig", or Seether's "Gasoline") actually released good songs before they got all gimmicky, which has earned them much more leeway on the music front.  I had a hard time rating this album, because I heard it so many times as a teenager that I know the words to basically all the songs, and in fairness the scores should be lower, but I felt like doing so would tear out a part of my history (and I own a ton of AC/DC albums, and all they do is make the same song over and over again, but at least their songs are good).  Regardless, if you've never heard this album, you're missing nothing at all.  And if you're going to try and defend "Bodies", remember this, it's a sonic abortion and I'm pro-choice.
Author: Pete

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