Sunday, February 4, 2007


Paul Kimball - Vocals
Danny White - Guitars
Art Liboon - Bass
James Sanguinetti - Guitars
Gannon Hall - Drums
Aaron (Pause) Vaughn - Turntables

Tracks: 1) Lo-Cal, Hi-Fiber 2) Skid 3) Crash 4) Splinter Down 5) Shut 6) Pauper's Wine 7) Acrophobia 8) Murray The Mover 9) In A Turn 10) The Trellis 11) The Next Room Over 12) Rubber Crutch

When I heard that Scott Holderby had left the band, it was as if someone had died. When you’re a teenager wrapped up so heavily in music, and in certain bands that you take on as if they are your own, band changes effect you also…it’s bizarre. I rang the London Noise offices who kind of smirked at the split. I received a letter from drummer Gannon Hall who claimed that Scott had been involved in fisticuffs with one magazine reporter, but worst of all was when I heard that they were carrying on without him. Now, don’t get me wrong here, but bands can remain cool with new members but Scott’s style was very much what Mordred were about in the same way Pauses had become part of the furniture as such. And when you release three records with that person it’s not easy to replace them, especially when that person had a real originality about them, and stamped themselves so effectively upon the career of the band.
I heard the Acrophobia ‘single’ and threw it up the wall! Sure, this is all about opinion and I’m sure the sound on The Next Room may well have gained the band a few more fans, because in a nutshell, this opus is power-metal, something akin to Corrosion Of Conformity’s mighty Blind and and also Alice In Chains records…only nowhere near as good, and that hurts to say that. So, in came new vocalist Paul Kimball, a throaty mover of some power which is great if you like Pantera and the nu-metal breed of vocalist, but this just doesn’t work. This wasn’t Mordred, despite Gannon Hall saying this was his best drumming performance or whatever. I’m not sure what Scott did immediately after he left, but judging by his already mentioned solo record, he was still Mordred without the heavier side. Mordred meanwhile had become stream-lined, more metal, less thrash, and far less cool, with any kind of experimentation sounding almost awkward next to power metal riffs. Was this a way of attracting a metal audience ? Whose idea was this ? Yet, for over almost an hour I had to sit there thinking, “…what the hell is this all about ?”. The Next Room is bland, despite some decent lyrics and experimentalism, but Kimball’s vocals are extremely dull despite their power, Pauses’ scratches mundane and predictable and the tracks are forgettable, despite such ridiculous titles such as Rubber Crutch and Murray The Mover. Are you serious ? Tracks such as Lo-Cal, Hi-Fiber and Skid skip by without effect, at times Kimball seems to slip into a Holderby mode, it doesn’t work. There’s even a track called Crash, yet it has nothing to do with the original the band recorded. It seems to have a hangover from Vision in its slo-mo approach and it’s pointless, and by this time you’re left wondering what direction they are taking. Splinter Down is run-of-the-mill metal, nothing more, a mediocre six-minute ramble that never changes pace, and then we have Aaron’s contribution, a jazz-club special called Shut that doesn’t fit onto a record bereft of coolness. It’s actually better than Close Minded, sewn together by a wailing sax but ruined by Kimball’s non-descript vocal yell, which pretty much drowns the whole record, as well as the samey riffs of mundanity. Shall I go on ? Pauper’s Wine sounds like the hideous mess that is Nickleback, suggesting an almost polished grunge feel, Acrophobia is okay…for another band, at times catchy, with a chorus that suits Kimball’s voice, but it’s regular stuff, the same formula through-out, and on Murray The Mover things get a little embarrassing, Kimball’s gravelled voice just not accustomed to singing what are an attempt at ‘groovy’ lyrics, enough said. In A Turn is another soulful cut naked without Holderby’s execution, The Trellis is bland, The Next Room Over a drab instrumental affair, splashed with the almost now predictable scratching and the final track, Rubber Crutch begins like some ‘80s metal anthem and never shifts gears from its tiresome routine.
Even if you judge this as a separate rock record, The Next Room is a tired affair, lacking most of Mordred’s unpredictability, class and soulful innovation. And even the band must have known this, which is why this opus was the last record, but one which most certainly disassociates itself from the others like some ugly sister.


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