Album review

To My Surprise : To My Surprise
Roadrunner Records

To My Surprise : To My SurpriseWhile it would have been far smarter for the members of Slipknot to all release solo albums on the same day a la Kiss, sadly it was not to be. Instead, the staggered releases of albums by the Murderdolls, Stone Sour and now To My Surprise have happily proven that the wearing no-respite thrash of Iowa was far less than the sum of its parts.
    The Slipknot suspect this time around is in fact the band's chief driving force; purcussionist Shawn Crahan, aka Clown. And to his credit, together with co-conspirators Brandon Darner and Stevan Robinson, Shawn has constructed a CD that owes little debt to his day job.

To say that the debut from To My Surprise is eclectic would be a gross understatement. We've got gonzo glam (Get It To Go), Mike Patton inspired weirdness (In The Mood), Pink Floyd-esque psychedelic pop (Turn It Back Around) pointless filler ("This is the end, this is the end. My only friend, the end." - Sunday) and self-indulgent twaddle (Say Goodbye).
    In fact this eclecticism is both To My Surprise's strength and weakness. Yes, it is an interesting listen and a credit to those involved. However, the end result is a forced mash of styles which tend not to sit well together. It's all too easy to imagine the band ticking off their musical checklist. Pink Floyd song? Check. Beatles song? Check. Mr Bungle song? Check. Seemingly the only one left out was the To My Surprise song.

:: Rowan Shaeffer

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