These Utah post-hardcore rockers have put their bruised-and-scarred image to good use over the past seven years. The opening song on their fourth album is called "Blood on My Hands," and throughout Artwork frontman Bert McCracken leads the Used through a bunch of songs about drugs, death and misery. They know the subject well: McCracken's pregnant girlfriend died of a drug overdose (which inspired their 2004 album, In Love and Death), and the singer himself has battled addiction. On Artwork, McCracken screams about living with demons and soaking in pain over thundering rhythms and piercing riffs. The Used manage to inject a few songs with a hook ("Born to Quit") or mood ("Sold My Soul"). But too much of Artwork sounds calculated (the piano ballad "Kissing You Goodbye") or instantly forgettable ("Men Are All the Same"). Plus, all that downer talk gets downright depressing after awhile.
— Michael Gallucci
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.