There are some interesting musical passages on Professional Murder Music, and the lyrics are well-crafted, but where Black Sabbath's debut decades before churned out a chunk of dark rock that has lasted, there is not enough identifying structure here. Sure, the guitars blast nicely on "Does It Dream," and the additional vocals by Aimee Echo have charm, but singer Roman Marisak sounds like he listened to Kurt Cobain over and over and over again. Josh Abraham's production is adequate for 2001, but the incessant Sly Stone "Dance to the Music" riff that bubbles underneath seemed more determined when Janet Jackson ripped it off. Justin Bennett's drums should explode like cannons, but they take a back seat to the quagmire of keys and guitars; those instruments are certainly a good thing but, by not putting everything at full blast, they fail to fulfill the promise. New groups are navigating in uncharted waters and some, like Verbow and Rehab, are doing interesting things with melodies and new sounds. Other groups like Godsmack and Nine Inch Nails need a good smack now and again to put some creative spark back. You can bake some songs like a cake, and "These Days" on Professional Murder Music sounds like one part OhGr, a dash of Kraftwerk, a quarter cup of "death metal," and some emotion that Iron Maiden gave us centuries ago. It's fun for a moment or two, but is it going to stick around? "Sleep Deprivation" gets a bit monotonous -- and it's too bad -- the lyrical sentiment is somewhat original. When Jack Ely sang "Louie Louie," the big thing was trying to figure him out, but the vocals are buried so deeply in the mix here you need to read the enclosed liners to figure out what's being sung. Geffen released a four-song EP with the radio edit of "Slow," demo versions of "Your World" and "Sleep Deprivation," and a version of "A Night Like This" (originally recorded by the Cure). These gems are not on the full-length CD. Tom Lord-Alge did the mix. It's listenable, but the band seems to have more to give that hasn't been brought out yet. A little more originality might go a long way if they are to have any future.
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AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione