Friday, May 18, 2012

The Cory Smoot Experiment-When Worlds Collide

Metal Blade Records

On November 3, 2011 guitarist Cory Smoot passed away from a heart attack. He was only 34 years old. According to the autopsy report Cory died from a "coronary artery thrombosis brought about by his pre-existing coronary artery disease,” (per North Dakota coroner William Massel). He left behind a family so, before I get too far into this review, I feel that I should mention that all proceeds from this album will be donated to the Smoot Family Fund to help provide for those Cory left behind. "When Worlds Collide" is available at the link below where you can listen to samples from the album as well as donate to fund. The album will be available on June 5th, 2012. If you can please consider helping out the Smoot family. Back to the actual album now. A little back story is in order I suppose. Originally this project (which was recorded back in 2010) was to be Cory's version of Probot (although without all the different types of metal represented). The project was to be concept album called "Religion is Fiction" with Cory recording all the tracks himself and then having some of his favorite singers from the Richmond metal scene (including GWAR lead singer Dave Brockie and Lamb of God's Randy Blythe) handle the lead vocals. Due to scheduling issues it just didn't work out that way so Cory recorded the vocals himself. The project, now known as "The Cory Smoot Experiment", was wrapped up before his final tour with GWAR in the fall of 2011. With that said this is kind of a hard album to listen to if only for the reason that Smoot obviously put a lot of hard work into this album and passed away before he could hear how people felt about it. From that standpoint this is a sad album to listen to. It represents Cory Smoot's last (personal) creative outpouring. However, it is also an album that showcases Cory's many skills. From the sounds found within he obviously took his time crafting this album. From the song structures to the lyrics to the actual music everything is just spot-on without being too fancy. Here you have a record that showed his love for the music first and foremost as well as his skill with not only the guitar (a given), but also as a vocalist. He handles both aspects with a certain level of ease and comfort. The album is (overall) modern metal in feel, but the way in which it is presented is the key point. Cory gets to play the lead role here and he makes the most of it. No longer just a bit player he relishes the chance to shine in the spotlight and as the album unfolds one can't help but wonder why Cory Smoot didn't take more chances like this. I know he had other side-projects (which I have not heard, but received so-so reviews from others), but this "experiment" was a real success. It is not brilliant or groundbreaking, but it is real heavy metal through and through filled with emotion, power and conviction. If he had done more "solo" work like this he very well could have found a certain level of success on his own away from GWAR. As is though he has left us with an empty hole that cannot be replaced, but (as little consolation as it might be) at least he has left behind this album for all to enjoy. It is a testament to his vision, skills and creative outlook. In a world where heavy metal can become too bland and colorless, too familiar (or if you will by-the-numbers) this was his attempt to stand out in a crowded room. While some might choose to just look (listen) to the album on one level it is a record whee you need to look beyond the obvious. Look past the "modern metal" tag and you will find an album that was created out of a need to express everything Cory had going on inside. For his friends and family and for GWAR (who will no doubt miss Cory and his skills) this album is a memory of a man who may have left us all far too young, but he left us also with the knowledge that he was more than just a character in a band. He was real flesh and blood with a deeper understanding of this world around us. This is a really good metal album and a great cause. Find out more at the link below.

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