Rocked to the curb...
Genre: Nü Metal
Yes, I know, a lot of metalheads, for whatever reason, hate Nü Metal nowadays. Anyhow, I'm going to stick my neck out and risk becoming unpopular by favorably reviewing this Nü Metal release.
My reason for doing so is that Boxhead were different from many other Nü Metal acts at the time by not having the token rapper and singer frontmen, but instead using one singer who draws on hard rock and alternative metal rather than on hip hop, by not using a lot of riffs that sound like second rate Pantera copies, and by actually playing guitar solos! Rather than just being a Limp Bizkit and Linking Park copy, Boxhead blends the influence from these bands with influences from other genres in rock and metal music.
The opening track "Motel" starts off a bit odd. It starts out, with an ambient groovebox beat (which was pretty much a Nü Metal trademark), but when the drums kick in, they do so off the beat, which sounds a bit strange for the first second or two, but then it actually ends up sounding quite interesting, as the syncopated groove box pattern shuffles nicely in the background, having a sort of Prodigy-like effect. The track itself has a melancholic feel to it and the verse is slightly reminiscent of post-draconian Paradise Lost and "A Pleasant Shade of Grey" in athmosphere, while the chorus draws on 90s hard alternative rock. Stab is based around a groovy guitar riff and a jazzy-sounding diminished bass figure (probably inspired by RATM), while the chorus riff is somewhat of a nod towards the soundtrack from Physco. "Phonebitch" is perhaps the weakest track on the EP, but it does contain some pretty cool sampling and scratching, as does "I Should Have Known". However "I Should Have Known" is a much stronger track, although I do like the rock 'n' rolly guitar solo on the former.
Especially interesting on this album is DJ Daf's scratching and the samples he uses. While he uses some rather old school smples on "Stab" (and remember old school is not a bad thing), he makes use of a horse's neigh on "I Should Have Known" (and that sounds friggin' sick... the good way) and an erotic sigh by a woman on "Phonebitch". Another thing that deserves highlighting is David Yoon's knack for making heavy and groovy guitar riffs - having heard some unreleased material by Boxhead, I can say that he really has a gift for coming up with guitar riffs, and his decision to pursue a medical career is a great loss to the local metal music scene. Finally, Per Eriksens varied vocals and hardrock/AOR-oriented voice was quite refreshing in the context of Nü Metal with its mass of rap-and-scream vocals of the late 90s and early 2002s.