September 9, 2019 Cold – The Things We Can’t Stop (Album Review)
It has been eight long years since we last heard from Cold, and in that time true life has transpired and inspired the band who proudly bleed on stage. Now, they make their triumphant return with The Things We Can’t Stop on Friday, September 13th, 2019, via Napalm Records.
Cold are a band with history! Formed in 1986 in Florida, in 1998 they made their Ross Robinson-produced, eponymous debut, placing them onto the Alternative Rock/Nu Metal playing field amidst the likes of powerhouses KoЯn and Linkin Park. But it was 2000’s Thirteen Ways to Bleed on Stage that cemented the band as a vital talent on that crowded scene before 2003’s Year of the Spider and its hit single “Stupid Girl” brought the band commercial success. To date, they have two Gold records and over one million records sold in the U.S. alone.
As fans already know, the group actually disbanded in 2006, but they were back together and touring by 2009, and would go on to release 2011’s Superfiction. At this point, Vocalist and Multi-Instrumentalist Scooter Ward is the only constant that the band has known, and he has rallied his troops to dive into Cold’s sixth studio album, the 12-song The Things We Can’t Stop. Produced by Ward and Jeremy Parker (Slipknot, Disturbed), the latest from Cold—Ward (vocals, guitar, keys), Nick Coyle (guitar, keys, backing vocals), Lindsay Manfredi (bass), and Aaron Fulton (drums)—continues the band’s characteristic take on converting pain into poetry.
The Things We Can’t Stop opens to the just under a minute “Intro,” setting an atmosphere that builds in tension before opening to the album’s first proper track, “Shine.” The catchy rocker, an obvious choice for first single/video, goes bold on melody and uplifting spirit, presenting a poignant tale of a young girl who is cast out, bullied in school, and physically abused at home, serving as an anti-suicide/mental health anthem for our troubled times and tormented teens.
This strong start wanes a thanks to the languid pace of the emotional “Snowblind,” peppered with electronic orchestral flourishes that flow into the mid-tempo, meandering “The Devil We Know.” Although, the pair pave the way for one of the album’s highlights, a faithful cover of Snow Patrol’s 2004 mega-hit single “Run.” (Try not to sing along to that chorus—we dare you!)
Piano enters the mix for the lackadaisical beat of the anthemic “Better Human,” a gentle call-to-arms to stand up and, despite being broken, improve ourselves. Next, “Without You” dips into some groovy territory before superbly catchy ballad “Quiet Now” laments the silence. Then, the meandering look at “The One That Got Away” segues perfectly into the mid-tempo rocker “Systems Fail.”
Ultimately, they close out the album with a pair of showstoppers: “Beautiful Life” and “We All Love.” On the former, piano and soft strings build into weeping guitar work that weaves around Ward’s vocals as he looks at love and dreams, while the latter piano ballad allows the entire band to absolutely soar. Thus, The Things We Can’t Stop starts strong and cycles through some hills and valleys to end strong.
If you are in search of “Stupid Girl: Part 2,” or a Year of the Spider redux, well, you are out of luck: that edgier side of the band has given way to a more refined, mature approach to songwriting. Simply put: The Things We Can’t Stop is 1990s Alternative Rock perfectly suited to 2019—catchy sing-along worthy moments with bold hooks molded into delicate rockers that fit better alongside the likes of Snow Patrol than KoЯn. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of this: it’s enjoyable, it’s solid, and it proves that Cold are still evolving and making sincere music. For this, Cryptic Rock give The Things We Can’t Stop 4 of 5 stars.
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