Every decade seems to bring approaches within the realm of heavy metal that serve as the blueprint for countless other bands to follow. And in the early 21st century, it was certainly angry/hollered vocals, pissed-off lyrics, and chug-chug-chug...chug-chug-chug guitar riffing -- as well as bands that opted to hide their identities behind scary masks. And all of these aforementioned ingredients have been well represented in the work of Mushroomhead, who continue to specialize in these approaches on their 2010 release, Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children. You can certainly make a valid claim that Mushroomhead are too derivative of bands such as GWAR and Slipknot (although with the latter, there has been some debate regarding who "borrowed" from whom...Slipknot or Mushroomhead), but Mushroomhead have carved a niche for themselves within the "masked metal" genre. And on Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children, you get just what you'd expect -- songs that serve as a checklist of the aforementioned musical descriptions (the album-opening "Come On" plus "Slaughterhouse Road," "Harvest the Garden," "Darker Days," etc.). Elsewhere, you'll find the melodic "I'll Be Here," which is an obvious attempt at radio acceptance (à la Godsmack and Disturbed), as well as two tracks that turn out to be more tranquil/slow-building, "Holes in the Void" and the album-closing "Do I Know You?" If musicians wearing masks and freely expressing their anger gets your head banging, then Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children should provide a suitable soundtrack. But for something a little more original and not as same-sounding as Mushroomhead's competition, you'll probably want to look elsewhere.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato