A little tired and highly derivative of Soundgarden (who had been getting ripped off for years before this Los Angeles band emerged in the late '90s) this debut from Speak No Evil reveals little about the group except that they apparently enjoy their post-grunge metallic. Before Speak No Evil had made much of a name for themselves on their Southern CA home turf, these transplants found themselves with a major-label record deal, and the non-existence maturation process is quite evident on this 1999 eponymous debut. Vocalist Kurtis Skelton indeed has a fine voice, but he uses it such a familiar throaty, mumbling manner (think Eddie Vedder meets Chris Cornell meets the guy from Creed -- who is basically aping Vedder) that it indistinguishable and thus unaffective. Filling out the lineup are guitarists Lee Rios and Danny Gill, drummer Chris Frazier, and bassist Greg Weiss. Each musician does a standup job. They all appear to know their instruments backwards and forwards, and together their heavy riffing thumps with the best of them, but there is nothing at all unique about this group or the disc. On their 2001 follow-up Welcome to the Downside, Skelton and his group do distinguish themselves a little bit, but, ultimately, it may have been a little late. Perhaps if these talented players had a chance to season a little before getting thrown into the pressure cooker of the major-label baby band fringe, then they could have shaped their talent (and career) into something more personal and lasting.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Anderson