American Voodoo Records / Warcon
Release date: April 26, 2005

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Welcome to new adventures in Nu-Metal. Borrowing from the forefront of what is hot in today’s music, Opiate For The Masses have started down the road to the next stage of Metal-development with their debut release, The Spore. Sounding like their brethren bands Tool and System of a Down, Opiate For The Masses also have a complex New-Wave vibe shuddering in the mix. It is kind of a pop-hook that surfaces just enough to lure your interest without overshadowing and dipping into crass commercialism.

Hailing from the sun-baked state of Arizona, this quartet is poised to infect the listening public with their highly appealing sound. Vocalist Ron Underwood has a voice not unlike Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, going from smooth and melodic to high, pained screeching; at some points sounding reminiscent of Cradle of Filth’s front-man Dani Filth. Underwood covers such a broad range of sounds that you may find yourself checking the liner notes to see how many members of the band are singing, but rest assured it is all one guy. Backing Underwood are bassist Ryan Head, guitarist Jim Kaufman, and drummer Seven Antonopolous.

Kaufman plays guitar with a raw punk-like abandon, but is also in charge of synths and programming which define Opiate For The Masses’s more modern tonality. Antonopolous varies between playing on top of the beat, making the songs sound Metal/Hard Core, or creating more of a backbeat dirty Rock ‘N’ Roll sound. Ryan Head rounds out the band’s style with his straightforward, root-hugging deep and metallic bass lines. All of the songs come in just about three and half minutes, and hit with the standard verse/chorus arrangements.

Choosing to go the route of so many twenty-first century artists, Opiate For The Masses are releasing The Spore on their own American Voodoo Records, with the disc being produced by frontman Ron Underwood. If the band thing doesn’t work out, Underwood should have no problem getting work as a producer. The sound from The Spore is top notch. With rich guitar tones, tight bass and snare sounds, he keeps the heavy bottom without sacrificing the high end. Underwood shows great maturity by keeping his vocals in line with the overall mix and not overpowering the disc. The varied sampling is left to a minimum, creating a nice texturing effect and not becoming an overbearing distraction like White Zombie has a knack of doing.

Opiate for the Masses walk a line not quite Nu-Metal, and not quite the modern incarnation of Hard Core, what has now been dubbed The New Wave of American Heavy Metal (NWOAHM). Rather, they are a band that is willing to explore the boundaries and extract the sounds that appeal to them, all the while using a smart and talented songwriting formula that is sure to garnish them many fans in the coming years.


  • Jeremy Juliano

    Jeremy was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He's been involved with and has been following the Metal scene since the early 1980’s. He started out his Metal journey with heavy doses of Maiden, Accept, and Saxon. And in recent years, he has enjoyed the new age of Metal with bands like Hammerfall, Edguy, and Nightwish, to name a few.

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