Liberation Transmission (Columbia)

Two years ago Ian Watkins, frontman of the Welsh screamo group Lostprophets, told USA Today that he and his bandmates would "finally start to write some classic songs" for their third album, Liberation Transmission, the follow-up to 2004's American breakthrough Start Something. So did Watkins make good on his promise? Depends on who's defining "classic."

Considered in its proper context -- the high-gloss mall-metal popularized lately by My Chemical Romance and Avenged Sevenfold -- the thing's got legs for sure: Cuts like "Everyday Combat" and "Can't Stop, Gotta Date With Hate" surround catchy melodies in chewy keyboard parts and manicured guitar fuzz juiced to arena-rock dimensions by producer Bob Rock. There's nothing here as triumphant as A7X's "Beast and the Harlot" or as pretty as My Chem's "The Ghost of You," but there is "Broken Hearts, Torn Up Letters and the Story of a Lonely Girl," whose truth-in-advertising you have to admire. Problem is, Lostprophets don't seem satisfied to be on the emo A-list; they tell interviewers they're aiming for Metallica and the Clash. And compared to Master of Puppets, Liberation lands somewhere a little short of classic.