12 Songs, 46 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

For anyone old enough to have attended shows by bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden, it might seem strange to think of grunge as “classic rock.” But the Southern California power trio Smile Empty Soul makes perfect sense of such a notion. Its fifth studio album plays nouveau grunge rock with the confident stance of classic rock luminaries. The first cut from 2012’s 3’s rips right into huge walls of foreboding minor-chord guitar distortion as Sean Danielson sinisterly screams “Carve your name into me.” The band follows this with “Ugly,” showcasing its ability to turn on a dime and deliver a heartfelt ballad that balances more mature emotional sensitivity with controlled sonics. The album’s prominent single “Afterlife” pulsates with equally brooding rhythms and a menacing melody. Over this, a relentless hailstorm of distorted guitar feedback growls and howls as Danielson spits out a see-you-in-hell sentiment to his anti-muse.

EDITORS’ NOTES

For anyone old enough to have attended shows by bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden, it might seem strange to think of grunge as “classic rock.” But the Southern California power trio Smile Empty Soul makes perfect sense of such a notion. Its fifth studio album plays nouveau grunge rock with the confident stance of classic rock luminaries. The first cut from 2012’s 3’s rips right into huge walls of foreboding minor-chord guitar distortion as Sean Danielson sinisterly screams “Carve your name into me.” The band follows this with “Ugly,” showcasing its ability to turn on a dime and deliver a heartfelt ballad that balances more mature emotional sensitivity with controlled sonics. The album’s prominent single “Afterlife” pulsates with equally brooding rhythms and a menacing melody. Over this, a relentless hailstorm of distorted guitar feedback growls and howls as Danielson spits out a see-you-in-hell sentiment to his anti-muse.

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