Smile Empty Soul burst onto the scene in 2003 with an emotionally powerful brand of old-school Seattle-styled grunge, tinged with just enough nu metal to keep from being a revival act. Vocalist Sean Danielson sang with a deeply angst-ridden tone that often made him sound like the second coming of Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley, subsequently garnering the band a small but intensely loyal fan base. With the independently released Consciousness, the group displays a growing sense of maturity and restraint while retaining its sharp songwriting skills. "Faker" is a raging, riff-driven rocker featuring lyrics dripping with venom, while "Alone with Nothing" is pure, hooky alt rock imbued with a deep sense of melancholy resignation. Throughout, Smile Empty Soul breaks little new ground, but proves that grunge can remain a vital medium of expression long after the genre's heyday.
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AllMusic Review by Pemberton Roach