Nu-metal? Increasingly, it’s a bug’s game. Alien Ant Farm are longtime SoCal buddies of Papa Roach. They played together for years while Papa Roach were on the rise. Now that the Roach rule, they’re using their fledgling label, New Noize, to release the Ant Farm’s debut. So far, so creepy-crawly. But what’s discomfiting about this many-legged back-scratch is the realisation that the Ant Farm’s spiritual home isn’t so much the warm, damp hollows of the nu-metal moshpit as the cool shine of the modern rock listening post.
Sure, tracks like ‘Courage’ simmer with malevolent guitars and raw-throated hollering. There’s more than an echo, too, of the Deftones’ dark churn on the Ant Farm’s more expansive songs. And it’s easy to see why the big pop gnarl that is ‘Movies’ became such a ubiquitous single in the US, and why it will infest your world come early summer.
Hidden under the pit floor, however, are frankly scarier prospects. Like AAF’s toe-curling cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘Smooth Criminal’ or the awful sub-Police reggae lurch of ‘Flesh And Bone’. Singer Dryden Mitchell over-emotes at every turn too, further slickening ‘ANThology’s pomp rock gloss.
They’re trying to make a mountain of an ant hill, where we’d be content with a record that just rocks.