Opiate - _Distinctive Smile_
(Visible Noise, 2002)
by: Xander Hoose (7 out of 10)
Claiming to be inspired by the Deftones, Opiate was formed in 1998 and got signed to Visible Noise right from the start. Definitely more metal oriented than their big influence -- although they call themselves a dark rock band with grunge influences -- Opiate manages to produce relatively catchy songs with good riffing and tight drumming jammed into a well produced package. Vocalist Justin Muir is described as reminiscent of Keith Caputo, and partly I have to agree. The flipside is that the vocals are the weakest link in the musical chain that is Opiate. On some songs, the vocals really work, especially the darker growling vocals on "Jah" and "Burn". The clean vocals, however, are less impressive. I found it difficult to listen to some of the songs featuring lots of clean vocals ("Dysfunction", "Drained"). If Justin manages to get a little bit better, Opiate might appeal to a larger audience and perhaps get the big break that I'm sure they deserve.

(article published 31/3/2003)

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