What a curious little album we have here. Whether that qualifier means “good” or “bad” is solely up to the listener. In 10 Years “Feeding the Wolves,” we see a band that gets caught between directions, but is not without talent.
Obliging the trendy nature of assorted alt-metal, “Feeding the Wolves” capitalizes on the anguished, emotional tropes that dominate the radio waves. Yet, within that somewhat disposable framework there exists a glimpse of creative song writing. The harmonizing that the band uses all too sparingly is a small exhibit of the kind of talent that’s on the table.
In particular, the mix of distorted guitar backbone with orchestrated, clean keyboard overlays leads for a compelling solution in “Waking Up the Ghost.” The song is versatile and maintains a good deal of rigidity that carries just a hint of sharpened teeth.
Tragically, for every “Waking Up the Ghost,” there is a “Don’t Fight It,” which bites hook, line and sinker into the alleged allure of similar singles from Sixx AM and Shinedown. Yawn. It’s not that the production is sub-par or the music on its base is somehow elementarily flawed. Rather, it just lacks imagination of any sort. “Don’t Fight It” instantly melts into the pooled quagmire of so many songs about relationships.
“Dead In The Water” is not a cover of the 1996 Orange 9MM song of the same name, but nonetheless is a deep-riffed, beat driven affair that stands out as one of the album’s better performances. Played live with proper amplification, the song could easily incite a crowd to get into the action.
It is a rare day when I advocate that a band finds a way to incorporate more aggressive vocals, but I think it really might help the cause in this case. Jesse Hasek as a vocalist is caught between worlds; he’s halfway between a true anguished yowl and a solid, imposing vocal register. As a result, he lacks a distinctive quality which may end up hampering the band. Given a slight push in either direction, the commercial appeal for 10 Years would probably have a higher ceiling.
Half of “Feeding the Wolves” shows true promise. “Fade Into (The Ocean)” is a nicely layered piece with proper balance between all parties that melds divergent sections of music into a single song. “Shoot It Out” is a bass-heavy, frenetic, haunted song that conveys a sense of unease. The chorus is a little contrived, but the overall affect is pretty well done. Similar to so many of the band’s best moments, the riffs are simple but concise and effective. It is in these moments where 10 Years flashes unique song writing and a knack for capturing the attention of the listener.
“Feeding the Wolves” is both gratifying and frustrating. The best parts are unique and fresh, opening a small window into the greater possibilities of alt-metal. The other half fits nicely into a pocket of mundane, radio-friendly and ultimately disposable pieces. If you’re a fan of the genre, have some patience and want to sift through the chaff to get to the wheat, “Feeding the Wolves” can be a worthwhile experience. Just be ready to not love all of what it has to offer.