Lacking precisely what's promised.
Bridge Nine's successive streak of solid releases unfortunately comes to a screeching halt with Energy's Invasions of the Mind. Sure, the band have seriously fresh influences considering the label: AFI circa their best years (Black Sails in the Sunset / The Art of Drowning), Bad Religion and a whole heaping of Misfits-lifted imagery.
But Invasions of the Mind is a poor and occasionally embarrassing end result of those influences. From the recording to the performance, both band and album lack serious bite -- and that's in a punk or hardcore sense.
After an intro track titled "Invasions" that's about 10 seconds too long, we're properly introduced by "Hunter Red" [Burgan?] and Tank's soaring, soprano voice. It's not entirely bad, especially if you think about him in a Zoli TĂ©glĂ¡s (Ignite) sort of way, but he has little-to-no 'umph' behind it. And this is one of Invasions' better tracks.
From there, it just feels like the band is phoning it in. The fact is, they lack serious energy -- and the pun here really isn't intended. It's just simply the biggest and most clear criticism one can draw with Invasions of the Mind. The occasional screamed backup vocals give them a nice jolt ("The Silence," "Brickstone"), but the transition back to Tank's softer and over-processed voice is uncomfortably jarring. One of the rare moments where it feels like the band is moving along at a proper clip is the half-decent "Hail the Size of Grapes."
Elsewhere, the failure to wield even a moderate sense of dynamism is further exposed by the pitiful recording. After the ear-catching intro riff of "Two Whole Minutes Underwater," you're expecting a devastating push into the first verse, but it's more like someone threw a wet blanket on you. Not long after, the potentially thunderous transition from "Revelations" to "Brickstone" ends up being a rushed change into double-time so aurally seamlessly it's seriously cringeworthy.
It's a little frustrating too, because the band obviously know how to write a song and they throw in a couple great experimental jabs, like the honest-to-goodness (and all-too-short) post-rock sprinkles of "400"'s later stages. But when Tank extends the bridge on that song by carelessly cooing "further and further away," there's nothing behind his voice to convince us that this metaphorical or literal distance actually means anything.
Disappointingly problematic, Energy showed a bit of potential on their summer 2007 demo, but Invasions of the Mind unfortunately fails to fulfill it.
Hail the Size of the Grapes