"The Mourning After" (Razor & Tie; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton


If you had to categorize 40 Below Summer, you'd probably say they were nu-metal. But 40 Below Summer is a little different than most nu-metal bands because of the variety in their sound.

"The Mourning After" features full-blown extreme rockers ("F.E.," "Taxi Cab Confession"), nu-metal tunes ("Self Medicate," "Monday Song") and radio-friendly ballads ("Awakening," "Breathless"). If you like variety, you're in like Flynn.

Unfortunately for the band, their cornucopia of rock'n'roll is going to alienate as many people as it's going to attract. Those who like extreme music typically dislike nu-metal. Those who like nu-metal typically dislike extreme music. And ballads are just made to get airplay, aren't they?

In all fairness, "The Mourning After" is all very well done, but, with the exception of "Self Medicate," none of it's likely to stay with you very long. Although entertaining enough, nothing really stands out when all is said and done.

Not a bad CD by any stretch of the imagination and the well-written songs definitely showcase the band's obvious talents, "The Mourning After" is certainly worth a listen.

For more information, check out http://www.40belowsummer.com

"Invitation to the Dance" (London / Sire; 2001)

Reviewed by Alicia Downs


"Invitation to the Dance" marks 40 Below Summer's major label debut album. Make no mistake about the name, the paradox in the idea of 40 Below Summer is intended to represent the diversity and pendulum swinging of the music itself, from brutally heavy to serene and beautiful. The New Jersey based quintet signed their deal after grabbing attention of No Name Management with their self-manufactured "Sideshow Freaks." Once securing a deal, 40 Below Summer moved on to record their album in LA with noted producer Garth Richardson who has worked with such acts as Rage Against the Machine and Kittie.

The diversity of 40 Below Summer throughout "Invitation of the Dance" is a theme that can be readily felt; at times leaving the listener wondering if this is the same band from track to track. For instance, on track four "Wither Away" you hear a smooth and melodic "money" song with the potential to hit radio hard. "Wither Away," with its infectious chorus and lighter side of metal guitars and drums, screams "repeat" from the CD player.

But I would not recommend calling yourself a 40 Below Summer fan based on hearing "Wither Away" since the only other track with a similar melodic blend comes compliment of "Power Tool." For the most part 40 Below Summer sticks to the newer blends of metal as seen in track "Step Into The Sideshow" that fits in with the modern day "bla-bla" metal sounds of bands that have been there and done that. Hints of Disturbed, Slipknot and even System Of A Down hide under standard metal guitar riffs. 

Amongst the jumble, there is little in the way of a definitive 40 Below Summer sound. Rather, it comes across like a meld of everything I had heard before this past summer on Ozzfest.

Ultimately, 40 Below Summer do pull off a solid enough album, if not a terribly original or balanced one. The tracks "Rope" and "Falling Down" will appease the nu-metal cronies out there that list bands like Disturbed and Slipknot as their top five of all-time. For the rest of us, we probably will not be able to differentiate whom 40 Below Summer is and more likely will not care. 

If you do not worship the bands in the "Ozzfest genre" you might as well skip this one. On the other hand, if you think that metal is flourishing now amongst these new sounds, then 40 Below Summer is right up your alley. I guess that is just another of the contradictions that 40 Below Summer relishes in. Kind of makes them a crapshoot though.

40 Below Summer is: Max Illedge (Vocals), Carlos Aguilar (Drums), Jordan Plingos (Guitars), Joe D'amico (Guitars), and Hector "Hook" Granzani (Bass).

For more information, surf over to the official 40 Below Summer site at http://www.40belowsummer.com

"Rain" (Crash; 2001)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Getting the reissue treatment is the 12-track album "Rain," by New Jersey cult faves 40 Below Summer. 

This band is now working on a semi-regular basis, in addition to some members playing in Black Market Hero, but when this album first dropped in 2001, 40 Below Summer caused quite a stir on the East Coast scene thanks to their nu-metal leanings, garnishing comparisons to Korn and Deftones. 

Boosted by a unique vocal style and crammed with a slew of memorable hooks like "Wither" and "Power Tool," if you'd like to take a trip through nu-metal's not too distant past, this disc is a good place to start. 

For more information, check out http://www.40belowsummer.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 13 May 2024 14:45:20 -0400.