CARBON 9
"The Bull"

(Worldsound)

01. What Is It We're Made Of
02. Crawling Over Me
03. My Friend
04. Somebody Like Me
05. The Bull
06. Mother
07. Butterflies In My Head
08. For You
09. The Life
10. Mary Mannequin
11. I'm Not Broken
12. Loving You
13. I'm On My Own
14. Lonely In Love
15. Tongues

RATING: 3.5/10

Zoned "light industrial", the urban area inhabited by Los Angeles' CARBON 9 is burdened with aging infrastructure and clings to life with a dearth of new ideas and way too many tired pop hooks. In fairness, "The Bull" is not a complete train wreck and folks into the brighter side, melodic side of industrial rock might enjoy this one, although even that statement I make with shaky confidence.

A term like "industrial" may even be a misnomer in the context of "The Bull", especially when considering the grim outlook and power-drive violence of pure industrial acts. CARBON 9 is more of a modern rock band with goth shades and electronic/keyboard sprinklings that are more about atmosphere than foundation. The formula at work here is a basic one – an attempt to be creepy in a sort of MARILYN MANSON way on most of the verses (which doesn't work very well) that immediately transition into pop-based choruses that are only occasionally memorable. "Crawling over Me" is easily the best song on the album, one that is relatively catchy and grooving. "My Friend" doesn't suck either. But songs like the title track, "Somebody Like Me", and "Butterflies in my Head" are mediocre at best. The second half of the album often falls into the category of electro pop/rock drivel. For example songs like "Mary Mannequin" and "I'm not Broken" are just bad and come with lyrics that are irksome as hell. Oddly enough, the band's spooky take on DANZIG's "Mother" is pretty good.

I can kind of hear what CARBON 9 are trying to accomplish and once in a while they hit on something that hovers around average, but for the most part "The Bull" just doesn't cut the mustard. The album is nowhere near dangerous enough for the hardcore industrial types nor does the band write strong enough songs to cross over into mainstream success. Now watch me get proven wrong on the mainstream success part.

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