"He Who Laughs Last . . ." (self-released)

A quintet out of Akron, Mialso, which consists of singer Matt Savering, bassist Nate Steckel, guitarist John Siladie, DJ John Wade, and drummer Ryan Kelly, calls the music on its debut EP "hop-rock." Part of the same scene that includes acts such as Poets of Another Breed and Cyde, at whose Grooveyard Studios the band recorded "He Who Laughs Last . . .," Mialso is popular with kids to whom Fred Durst is some kind of musical genius. With their baggy pants and baseball caps twisted around backwards, the members of Mialso have some flavor, but given the fact that the band sounds so much like any number of rap-metal acts (think Limp Bizkit crossed with 311), there's little here to suggest that Mialso (pronounced "me also") is breaking new ground.

Right from the opening notes of the first song, "Not Quite Right," a track which features stop-and-go guitars, turntable scratches, and rapid-fire vocals, Mialso follows a predictable formula that involves pairing hip-hop beats with hard-edged guitars. Slow bass lines kick off the song "Too," but it's not long before the crunchy guitar chords and call-and-response vocals take over. "Cyclone" also starts with a moody instrumental intro before giving way to tired boasts (sample lyric: "I'm a cyclone, and you know I will not quit until I'm fully blown"). The only song that takes any chances is "Apples" -- a track that opens with a melancholy violin melody (played by Sara Angus). The initial falsetto vocals in the tune are more genuine than anything else on the album -- but even "Apples" segues into something that sounds like "Nookie," with Savering rapping "so you can take your perfect life and stick it." Now there's something we haven't heard before.


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