Zug Izland


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Since when did late-'90s industro-rock bush leaguers like Gravity Kills and Stabbing Westward become touchstones for 21st century alt.metal? That's who Zug Izland suggests most on "Everything," the not-so-blistering opener to 3:33. Luckily, the Insane Clown Posse affiliates are a bit better on "Taken," which crosses brooding verses with a sludgy anthem chorus and haunting horror movie choir backgrounds. The atmospheric "Saved" is a highlight, too, with its swirling violin accompaniment. However, from there the album's schizophrenic dynamic is etched in scatterbrained blood, somewhere out there at the Zug Izland compound. It's true -- like their mentors in ICP, Zug Izland are very earnest in what they do. Problem is, 3:33 sounds like the result of whatever hundred ideas stuck to their practice space wall. Cuts like "Virgo's Tale" and "Ride" emulate the rock blather side of Kid Rock and Twisted Brown Trucker, "U" and "Feel" opt for piano-tinged, even-tough-guys-cry balladry, and the nondescript posturing of nu-metal -- singed with goth, industrial, and electronic acids -- guides most of the rest of 3:33. Zug shouter Syn has no new tale to tell -- his lyrics are a bland mishmash of tortured-soul rumination, broad social comment, and vaguely threatening machismo. Still, on the plus side, he's a powerful presence over the stark pound of drummer Ashley Horak and multi-instrumentalist Mike P. Zug Izland's sparer style is actually unique in an alt.metal climate of two-guitar lineups and monstrous six-string bass bottom ends. But their sonics aren't strong enough to raise 3:33's alert level past blue.

blue highlight denotes track pick