Splitting the difference between harsh brutality and cock-rock emoting works well for a band like Katatonia who just happen to be excellent and inventive. It works for Katatonia because it's believable at every level and the intricate structures of the group's songs lend themselves alternately to swooping bombast and gut-busting evil. Hailing from Birmingham, Ala., Haste is a six-piece that attempts a similar feat with "The Mercury Lift," their debut album. Unfortunately, Haste is no Katatonia. They're a whole lot more like Creed with occasional balls (if you can imagine such a thing). Yes, the group has an above-average sense of emotional reach and it's obvious they've tried very hard to make each of the 11 songs on "The Mercury Lift" an engaging experience for the listener. Sadly, they depend on pop-rock clichés, Stapp-style howling and the occasional "metal" breakdown to create that experience. For the unsophisticated, it may well be enticing. But for those who have matriculated to middle school, everything is just a bit too by-the-book.
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