Dead Generation

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As the story goes, L.A. four-piece Sloth officially hooked up with the Warped Tour by originally playing guerilla shows in the summer extravaganza's parking lot. Through the Warped exposure, the band moved an impressive number of its independently issued discs, and eventually ended up on Hollywood. Sure, Sloth's guitars are loud enough, and its rhythms are rightly gloomy. But if Dead Generation is any indication, it's unclear how this group wasn't immediately marked as a shameful imposter to Tool's throne and sent packing back to the parking lot. If you are a disaffected suburban youth, unhappy with your job at the Dilly Mart, lyrics like "I cry and beat the bathroom floor" and "Screaming absolve/Fear continues/Laugh at us all/No/No/No" might redefine happiness. But Sloth's vaunted Greek bouzouki musical influences choke and wheeze in comparison to the brain-twisting Armenian Dada metal of System of a Down, and the preposterous brood of "Broken Crutch" would be trounced by even the most charitable measure of Lateralus. Likewise, Screaming "JESUS!" 27 times and indicting television as a religion does not a revolution make. But Sloth can't quit, borrowing freely and badly redoing moments from alternative metal's past ten years over the course of an album that's all the more misguided for acting so serious about itself. The best metal challenges convention while it invites inclusion and comfort under its big black wing. Conversely, Sloth's no-dimensional dynamics, cut-up, processed riffing, and bathroom-wall poetics (Dead Generation's very first line: "All we see is all we know/And all we know we see") can only offer a smudged mimeograph of that sentiment. Even the most naïve listeners must realize this, and look to the genre's true giants for their own inspiration.

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