The Smashup - Being and Becoming (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Smashup

Being and Becoming (2005)


The Smashup waste no time in declaring their battle cry of "never going to kill us." They want you to know right away, they've been beat down and bled away, but when you try to stop them, you can't stop them. It's a nice thought and all, but it was a better one when Twisted Sister had it.

I regret to say, things don't really get that much better from there. There's bits and pieces of excellence, but it's extremely inconsistent on the whole. The band's style is an odd one, and I'd be a liar if I tried to make an immediate comparison, but this is one of those rare instances where even originality and a somewhat unique sound can't save a rocky ship.

Vocalist Watt White sounds absolutely psychotic while delivering the album's vocals, both during the raspy, shouting vocals, and the more reserved singing. His tone and inflection just sound so manic, so depraved, that you really do think that the man is completely insane. The volatility is strangely engaging, so much so even that you'll pay extra close attention to a lot of these songs just for the chance that you'll get to really peer into what's making him tick. It's an odd dichotomy, one that remarkably does work in some instances. Just the fact that he could fly off the handle at any moment, and even during what seem to be relatively tame moments, White's voice just has that ability to grasp a listener and make them pay attention.

Therein lies one of the problems, though, as you become so fixated on the vocals, and how they're cascading, that you really just don't pay much mind to the actual musicianship. It's only when the vocals aren't present at all that you really can take an objective look at the band as a whole. They're tight, no doubt about it, but a lot of the guitar work meanders in such a way that it's not even really on plane with the rest of the music anymore. "Violencer, Part. 2" is one of the exceptions, as the slowly developing song starts in a relatively serene atmosphere, and while you're waiting for the impending explosion, it doesn't come. The verses are really strong, but the forced chorus wrecks the ebb and flow altogether, leaving you more or less in a position to abandon listening entirely. It's frustrating, because things were taking such an interesting path, and then the token song structure shattered that for no really good reason.

It's a recurring problem for the band, whose grave musical inconsistencies ultimately lead to their demise. A shame, because unlike anyone else on Warcon, this band does show a fair amount of promise and songwriting ability. Hopefully this is just a prologue, and Chapter 1 will make good on their talents.