Post-grunge and nu-metal are not the most well respected genres in music. The former gave us Bush and Shinedown, and the latter gave us a lot of trite garbage and System of a Down. System has not been relevant for a decade now, though they were probably the only nu-metal band to expand their palette outside of that late 90’s scene. The rest of the post-grunge lot is relegated to generic rock FM radio status, alongside Sublime and Offspring classics for all eternity.
Anyways, it does not seem like the most palatable resource for influence. But Smash Into Pieces do it anyway, and they do an admirable job. They are not breaking boundaries, but they are refitting boundaries and making the walls taller. The first track from their 2015 full length The Apocalypse DJ is so full of clichés it is the late 80’s romantic comedy version of brorock. The band is standing outside their girlfriend’s dorm with a boombox, begging to get back together and showing off their Japanese Kanji tattoo.
For all intents and purposes, Smash Into Pieces is a good band. Their attempt at revisiting some of the worst moments of rock’s modern legacy is such a bizarre misnomer. Instead of coming across as cheesy, they come across as kind of fun. I think the distinct difference here is that many of the bands they find influence THINK they are doing big things in rock. Ask Fred Durst how important Limp Bizkit is and he will probably admit they are forbearers of rap-rock. They were- for an hour. Smash Into Pieces know who they are, and that makes them all the more self-aware.
Another peculiar thing is that Smash Into Pieces comes across as this Limp Bizkit rap-rock clone. Yet they are actually quite subtle in their approach, and certainly prefer the big guitars and swinging vocals over DJ beats and fratboy rapping. Which makes sense given lead vocalist’s Chris Adam Hedman Sorbye’s impressive vocals. It is smart for the band to lean into his voice. It is perfect for their sound.
I think most people would want these genres to fade away into obscurity and take a place next to disco and breakbeat. But what kind of elitist am I to say that a whole sound should, well, vanish? Smash into Pieces admirably commits to what they are great at, and manages to deliver some impressive ballads that would have fit in the top-tier of their genre.
Ryan Merkel is a cool writer guy and contributor all over the internet, from blogs on music to magazines about music to sites about playing music. He is currently founder of SunState Investing and is head editor of the music entertainment magazine, CultureTease. He has written two novels, and is currently working on a third full-length novel, surprisingly, not about music. His novel “Splatter the Noise” earned accolades for independent publishing. Be sure to check out: www.sunstateinvesting.com
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