Madina Lake

World War III

Written by: TL on 08/10/2011 00:07:52

In some way, we really should all be routing for Madina Lake. Their bassist, Matthew Leone, is a bona fide hero after all, having his skull bashed in back in 2010, when he came to the help of a victim of domestic violence and barely survived the event. Having fully recovered by now however, Matthew and the band stated in the last interview I read, that they were putting the whole thing behind them, not wanting it to let it be a continuing conversation point in the future. Fully understanding this, I won't talk about it anymore, and not pull any punches I might feel like sending the way of the band's new album.

Before we get to that however, let's recap Madina Lake and what they're about. The Chicago quartet is completed by singer Nathan Leone (yep, brothers, twins in fact), guitarist Mateo Camargo and drummer Dan Torelli. The new album "World War III" is the third and supposedly last in a concept trilogy revolving around the fictional town Madina Lake and the disappearance of its most famous citizen Adalia.

As much you could have read anywhere on the internet though. What Madina Lake is in my eyes, is a band that has tried their hand again at again at penning the epic, uplifting stadium-rock song, while almost invariably having to cover up un-original ideas and predictable song-structures with their abundance of positive energy and good intentions. Granted, their debut "From Them, Through Us, to You" had a handful of good singles despite this, but the sophomore "Attics To Eden" was afflicted to the point where I have trouble remembering anything from it at all. And on "World War III" little and less have changed. Madina Lake are still at it, trying to right perceived wrongs in society, championing individuality and encouraging fans to persevere in the face of injustice.

It would be admirable really, and like I said, it's hard not to rout for them, but then there's the fact that this 'hobby' is one they largely share with God knows how many other similar bands out there. It doesn't mean I think the band should sing about their girlfriends or about negative stuff instead, but it means that Madina Lake are directly comparable to bands that ply the same waters, such as My Chemical Romance, There For Tomorrow, Lostprophets and 30 Second To Mars, and that bodes ill for them, because top-to-bottom, instruments-to-vocals, songwriting-to-production, they're on the short end of each and every one of those comparisons.

The best things they do have going for them, is their energy and their knack for instantly catchy choruses. The latter quality is especially consistent with them, as can be heard in songs like "Hey Superstar" or "Across 5 Oceans", the problem is that even their best refrains have a hollow, predictable character that means the speed with which you recognise them is only matched by the speed with which you forget them again. The lyrics, despite the concept and the positive messages, seem blunt and inelegant and despite Nathan Leone being a capable singer, he doesn't hold a candle to any of the singers that compete in this genre (except for Ian Watkins maybe). Consider then that occassions of noteworthy riffage are few and far in between, and you'll end with a product that is little more than perfectly average overall.

On a final note, I'm pretty sure the good guys in Madina Lake could not care less about me giving them a fairly pedestrian grade, as long as they can still tour and be an inspiration to people less critical than me. At least I hope so because that would probably be a very good thing. However, should they ever feel like trying to impress anyone in the know, with what they're capable of artistically, they can consider this the second time I'm telling them that they need to step their game up - because they're dangerously close to irrelevance in this department.


Download: They're Coming For Me, Hey Superstar, Across 5 Oceans
For The Fans Of: There For Tomorrow, My Chemical Romance, 30 Seconds To Mars, Lostprophets

Release Date 13.09.2011
Razor And Tie

Related Items | How we score?
comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXXI