Having achieved a loyal and growing following in Finland and throughout Europe, this Finnish group is more than capable of presenting dark and moody yet very finely tuned rock songs. Starting with "In the Shadows," lead singer Lauri Ylönen sounds a bit like Darren Hayes from Savage Garden, if moderately influenced by Nine Inch Nails. The tone of the song is lightweight and resembles an edgier or meaner Ace of Base, but thankfully The Rasmus have ample chops to make them credible. "They say that I must learn to kill before I can feel safe," he sings while a bouncy backbeat continues the flow. Seamlessly moving into "Guilty," the glossy singalong chorus and slick rock riffs give way to more of a murky Faith No More feeling in its verses. The vocals are also layered atop each other, creating a vocoder-like sound halfway through. An early problem is how often the band leaves the songs to hang on too long with the chorus refrain going too far. An alternative pop tune is the melodic and textured "First Day of My Life," a track that nails a thick slab of anthem rock. Fans of The Gathering might find comfort in much of this album, but the edge is often dulled by solid but safe arrangement, especially during the formulaic "Still Standing." "In My Life" has a mixture of various styles and steps outside the box, morphing from an urgent, darker blueprint to a punk-riddled Bryan Adams within a matter of moments. A gothic "Time to Burn" is perhaps the album's true gem, a song with more than enough accents and hooks to keep the listener enthused. The song also marks a departure from the earlier songs, as the lengthy "Not Like the Other Girls" moves more into their niche, a ballad that brings Def Leppard instantly to mind. Another strong effort is the punchy "Back in the Picture," but "Funeral Song" is quite forgettable. Nonetheless, the radio-friendly "F-F-F-Falling" is a good send-off.
AllMusic Review by Jason MacNeil