Review: FallingIce “Meatsuit”

FallingIce “Meatsuit”

17 Mar, 2011 Alex Henderson

In Italy, there are plenty of artists who record mostly or exclusively in Italian and concentrate on the Italian-language market.  Vasco Rossi, Laura Pausini, Umberto Tozzi and Giusy Ferreri are among the many Italian pop stars famous for their Italian-language recordings.  But Italy also has a variety of Italian rockers who are best known for their English-language output, and they range from the well-known gothic metal band Lacuna Coil to Milan-based alternative pop-rockers NoMoreDolls to the post-grunge/alternative rock trio Fallingice (as opposed to Falling Ice).  Led by frontman/founder Vice, Fallingice have had some lineup changes along the way.  On their first full-length album, Meatsuit, the power trio lineup consists of Vice on lead vocals and guitar, Bem on bass and Fab on drums.  Vice wrote all of the material, which is aggressively hard-rocking but also quite melodic and draws on direct or indirect influences that include Nirvana, the Foo Fighters and Linkin Park.  In other words, this is an album that, stylistically, has “active rock” written all over it.

“Too Bored to Die” is perhaps the closest Meatsuit comes to full-fledged alternative metal.  The tune has a guitar riff that is somewhere between Soundgarden and Black Sabbath, and Vice combines his love of the late Kurt Cobain with hints of Ozzy Osbourne.  “Too Bored to Die” is easily the album’s most metallic track, but for the most part, Meatsuit is more alternative hard rock than alternative metal.  Of course, there has often been a fine line between hard rock and heavy metal over the years.  That was true in the 1970s and 1980s, and it has continued to be true in album rock’s post-Nirvana, post-Nevermind era.  Different people will have different views on what constitutes alternative hard rock and what constitutes alternative metal.  Fallingice, arguably, can be relevant to both, although 90% of the time Meatsuit is post-grunge rather than alt-metal.

Fallingice aren’t as slick or polished a post-grunge band as Creed, 3 Doors Down or Nickelback, and while angst-ridden tracks such as “Soap Bubble,” “Inner Confusion,” “Hands in Chains,” “Desired” and “Another Day” are radio-friendly, they also show a fondness for the type of explosive fury that Nirvana favored back in the early 90’s.  Those songs have melody and nuance, but they are also decidedly edgy.

Speaking of Nirvana, Vice favors a very Cobain-ish vocal style but also sings with a slight Italian accent.  And “slight” is the operative word because he has no problem expressing himself in English.  Vice sings like someone who is proficient in English even though he grew up in a country where Italian, not English, is the dominant language.  If anything, that combination of Cobain-isms and a slight Italian accent is a plus because it helps him stand out in the very crowded post-grunge field.  Post-grunge, obviously, is full of Cobain and Eddie Vedder worshipers, and while there is no doubt that Vice is a Cobain disciple, that slight Italian accent helps prevent him from sounding like someone who wants to be a Cobain clone.

Another track that ventures into alt-metal territory is “Breathing Machine,” which is the album’s heaviest offering next to “Too Bored to Die.”  The song sounds a bit like something Bush would have done in the 90’s, but is heavier and more forceful and also has elements of Soundgarden.  “Teenage Boy” and the radio-friendly “My Cold Heart,” on the other hand, are post-grunge items that, like most of Meatsuit, keep their crunchy guitar-power aggression in the alternative hard rock realm rather than the alt-metal realm.

This derivative effort doesn’t pretend to be groundbreaking.  Countless other bands have dipped in these same post-grunge waters, some with better results and some with worse.  While Meatsuit isn’t a remarkable album, it is certainly a decent and competent one.

Review by Alex Henderson
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)