Okay. I was pretty skeptical about the prospect of the Second Coming of Cold with the new CD. I was worried that they would have no chance at competing with the first release, which was incredibly mind-blowing to everyone that came into audible range of it. I also feared the involvement and/or influence of the man we love to hate, Fred Durst, especially after hearing what the first track and single was named. I mean, come on! “Just Got Wicked”? I almost cried. Was it over for Cold? Already? It couldn’t be.
Well, I could not have been more wrong. Not only is “Just Got Wicked” a great heavy song that opens the CD, but collectively, this is one of the best sophomore efforts by a not-so-well-known band that I’ve heard in a while. 13 Ways To Bleed On Stage (Flip/Geffen) is another sincere, heart-felt reflection of what vocalist Scooter Ward has been dealing with during the writing and recording process. Ward one of the most intensely emotional vocalists I’ve heard. Even lyrically, the songs compliment his singing style. He has a certain drawl when he sings that tends to twist and slur the English language into something even more meaningful. Ward also has this affection for specific words that seem to just roll off of his tongue. Words like ‘everyone’, and ‘suffocate’ have made repeat appearances on both Cold records.
Scooter Ward has always come across as this dead inside, broken, and angry man with a heart made of nothing but shattered glass. He has trouble expressing his feelings verbally, and he’s pissed off about that, too. Even in person; he is a shy, soft-spoken guy, with small, easy-to-break bones. However, he holds nothing back when it comes to singing about what is going on in his mind and his passionate heart. That’s especially evident on 13 Ways…, especially on “She Said”, “Confession”, “Same Drug”. All three of which are my personal favorites.
Luckily, during a time when seemingly every band out there is putting together an overabundance of guest appearances that ultimately take away from the true feel of their own music; Cold put out 13 Ways… and have pretty much stood strong on their own. Thankfully, the only obvious outside contribution comes from Scooter Ward’s vocally-identical twin (well almost) – Aaron Lewis of Staind. Lewis added a little more vocal muscle to just two of the tracks, “Send In The Clowns” and “Bleed”. With backing vocals this similar, you have to wonder why the producers didn’t just want to layer tracks of Scooter’s own voice, but its nice to know that even the band acknowledged the similarities, and include them for lushness, and well, volume. Lewis is quite a screamer when he opens up, but Ward rarely has to resort to this to get his point across.
The only other more subtle “guest appearance” comes from Chris Vrenna, of Nine Inch Nails fame, who has taken up his own form of contributing to a variety of different works from various bands. His excellent job of programming adds polish and newness to the Cold sound, and of course, the band does their own job of bringing the noise, so to speak. It all works. In fact, everything works on this CD. 13 Ways… is, for the most part, the same haunting, gorgeous soundscape the true fans of Cold will love. No real Cold diehard will be disappointed. What a relief for us all.