Mushroomhead XIII

On XIII, Mushroomhead has maintained the theatrically aggressive sound that really turned my ear to them when their debut disc XX was released in the summer of 2002. Their sophomore effort holds steady the course that was routed by the first disc. This album has a raw skeletal mix of room-filling vocals, fabricated sounds and succinct drums courtesy of Skinny. Surprising considering there are eight musicians (and thus layers of sound) in this band. What there isn’t a lot of are wasted notes — on anything that Mushroomhead has produced. Buried in the middle of the album, "One More Day” exemplifies what I like about this band. It oozes darkness and menace topped with cold, solemn female backing vocals. "The Dream is Over” features the chaotic sound of duelling vocalists J Mann and Jeffrey Nothing in front of a particularly shredding bass line. XIII is more of the same from Mushroomhead, and that isn’t really a bad thing. Definitely worth a listen. (Universal)