Drowning Pool

Drowning Pool [2010]

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Drowning Pool have never been very much fun, but on their eponymous fourth album the group attempts to up the ante, partially due to much of it being written in the wake of various traumas in singer Ryan McCombs’ personal life. During the creation of Drowning Pool, McCombs lost his father and saw his marriage fall apart, so naturally these events bubble up throughout the 11 songs here, sometimes explicitly and sometimes elliptically. Since Drowning Pool are not a subtle band, they’re best when they address the pain head-on or, better still, avoid it for a dunderheaded rocker like “Horns Up,” which is the closest they’ve gotten to a fist-pumping anthem since “Bodies.” It also indicates what works best on Drowning Pool: McCombs may attempt to mine the darkness but the production is the slickest and cleanest they’ve ever had, which fits because the group’s hard rock has opened up some, no longer confined to a heavy minor grind. They’re still not a lot of fun but here they’re marginally entertaining -- which is both more than they’ve ever mustered before and rather ironic given the record’s tortured origins.

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