Smash Into Pieces (A Critical View)

“In the series “A Critical View” we take a look at a band’s music and write about its pros and cons. We’re not here to criticise the band, but give a realistic view about it to the reader/listener. This time we’ll tell about the Swedish rockband Smash Into Pieces.”

Smash Into Pieces is a Swedish rock-band formed in 2009. So far they have released two albums. In 2013 they released their first album, “Unbreakable”, followed by a second album last year, “The Apocalypse DJ”. How are these albums and what are their chances for the future?

The music by Smash Into Pieces is quite accessible for the people who listen to the radio. It’s similar with the style from Nickelback and Theory of a Deadman, but they are more than just that. A big difference is that Chris Adam, the lead vocalist, sometimes does scream vocals. And he actually does that pretty good. Besides that their style is similar to Nickelback’s, their style is influenced by that band. Most obvious is the song “Rockstar” on Unbreakable. It’s probably one of the worst songs of the album. It looks a bit like a bad remake from Nickelback’s Rockstar, but it sounds very different. The scream part halfway the song sounds pretty good though. Nevertheless it sounds pretty uninspired.

Old-paper - smash into pieces - lyrics - A friend like you copy

Is Smash Into Pieces only a bad remake of Nickelback? No, they actually aren’t. They still have their own style and many of their songs are good, and some of them are just great, not only lyrically, but also musically. Take “A Friend Like You”, probably one of their best songs and a single from the album Unbreakable. The song has a good rhythm with quite calm couplets and a bit more powerful refrains. This song has a good combination with both the music and Chris Adams voice. You can hear and feel the emotion in this song.

Smash Into Pieces has several other songs in which you can hear and feel the emotion. Here To Stay is a quiet song, probably the calmest on the Unbreakable album. But that actually shows the emotion and it makes the song different than their other songs. The final song of that album, Fading, has the same. That song has a lot of power. You can hear and feel the desperation in this song.

Does their second album have such emotional songs? Asking that question you immediately come at Checkmate. The lyrics are quite interesting, they refer to chess. It’s great to see that they made a whole (love) song based on that. Though this song gives different feelings. On the first side it’s a good song, but on the other side it actually sounds a bit boring. It’s nothing spectacular. Of course, not all songs have to be spectacular, but this song is missing something. That’s unfortunate, because the idea is ingenious.

 

 

Old-paper - smash into pieces - lyrics - Fading copy

One of the minus points of their second album is that it contains several songs which doesn’t sound special. Don’t Wake Me Up, Reaching Out, Color of Your Eyes and Burn; they’re all good songs, but they all sound a bit the same. Don’t Wake Me Up is one of the worst songs of the album. It sounds dull and it’s a bit boring. Burn isn’t special either. It’s comparable with My Enemy from the Unbreakable album, which isn’t very special as well. Reaching Out and Color of Your Eyes are both better than those two songs. These two have great couplets with refrains which matches the couplets. Still there are songs on the album which are much better.

For example Another Day on the Battlefield and Bullets. These two songs are comparable, but they still sound different. Bullets is more rhythmic, while Another Day on the Battlefield is a bit slower. Both songs are similar with Unbreakable from the other album. Although Unbreakable has a hard begin of the song, the couplets are in all three songs quite quiet and the refrain of Unbreakable is a combination of the refrains from the other two songs. Musically it’s comparable with Bullets, while the way of singing is similar with Another Day on the Battlefield. These songs are all very good.

 

 

Old-paper - smash into pieces - lyrics - Checkmate copy

Not all song from their second album sound the same. Four songs are quite different compared to the rest: Stronger, My Cocaine, Disaster Highway and Rock ‘n’ Roll (The Apocalypse Tribute). Stronger is a powerful opening song from the album, a bit similar with Colder, the opening song from Unbreakable. Both songs are very good, which is very important for an album opener. Colder might be a bit better, because it distinguishes itself more compared to the other songs of the album, which makes it very likely to hear. The first single from their second album, Disaster Highway, is pretty different as well. This song is, especially lyrically, very good.

The final song of the album is Rock ‘n’ Roll (The Apocalypse Tribute). Its title gives several expectations, but the song itself isn’t quite what it should be. It’s a bit weak. The rhythm of the song is different compared to most of their other songs, but it actually makes the song sound quite weird. It doesn’t have the power of for example the final song of their first album, Fading.  It looks like Rock ‘n’ Roll has missed its goal.

Old-paper - smash into pieces - lyrics - Disaster Highway copy

It actually looks like their second album doesn’t have any good songs and is a bit monotonous. Well, this actually is a bit true. But apart from the fact that most songs are at least average or above average there is one song which actually is a success: My Cocaine. Chris Adam sings this song together with Elize Ryd, known from the Swedish metal band Amaranthe. This song really stands out compared to the other songs of the album. Not only because of Elize, but because this song has the power which is missing in most of the other songs. With relatively calm couplets and a very powerful refrain. Elize Ryd gives the song an extra dimension, which makes it really outstanding. After all the critics given so far it has to be said that Smash Into Pieces has done a great job with this song.

 

 

 

 

 

Still, it has to be said; The Apocalypse Dj is actually nowhere compared to Unbreakable. The variation in songs is much better on Unbreakable and the songs itself are better as well. Not only the “normal” songs, but also the singles. But don’t get me wrong; The Apocalypse Dj is a good album as well, but it doesn’t have that part to make it a very good or an awesome album. It feels like they played on safe, except from the singles, although they weren’Old-paper - smash into pieces - lyrics - My Cocaine copyt as spectacular as the singles from Unbreakable, apart from My Cocaine. Unbreakable is a very good to great album, The Apocalypse Dj is somewhere between average and good. It would be great if Smash Into Pieces makes their next album more spectacular. They could make more powerful songs like A Friend Like You, Here To Stay and Fading, combined with more energetic songs like Colder. Or they could let Chris Adam use his scream a bit more. He’s pretty good at that and it could make a song a bit more special.

Recently Smash Into Pieces released a new song: Merry Go Round. It’s something new and different to their other songs. It might not be the most spectacular song, but it’s solid and accessible. Hopefully Smash Into Pieces will come with some more music this year, because it’ll be interesting. Hopefully it’ll be as good as some of their older songs.

 

 

DSC_0022_klein
Of course the albums from Smash Into Pieces are in our CD collection!

Evaluation

Vocals (7,3/10)

Chris Adam has his own voice which he uses greatly. He has the power to put emotion in a song, which gives the song an extra touch. Though in some songs his voice sounds a bit boring and somewhat boring, but this is mostly because of the song which isn’t just good enough. His unclear vocals are pretty good as well, which gives a nice addition to the songs in which he’s using it. All in all the vocals are pretty good.

Music (7,2/10)

Smash Into Pieces has a specific voice, which is noticeable through the guitars. They have a raw sound and have a full sound. This gives Smash Into Pieces on the first hand a specific and recognizable sound, but one the other side it’s a bit annoying in some songs. This, of course depends on the song, but it sometimes makes the songs monotonous.

Lyrics (7,7/10)

Lyrically Smash Into Pieces are really strong, which isn’t always visible at first sight, but taking a closer look you really see some great lyrics. Of course not all of their lyrics is as good as others, but they have some ingenious songs in which they really show their talent for song writing. The songs do have a subject or a story, which is important. They score very high on this aspect.

Releases (7,4/10)

They totally made it with their debut album. With a big variety of songs which were very good they had a great start. Unfortunately the second album was, especially compared to the first one, not as good as expected. It feels like they played on safe, apart from a few songs. After such a good start it’s difficult to equalise the first album, so it’s still not bad. Hopefully they can match the level of the first album in the future.

Future (7,6/10)

With two at least good records and a growing fan base the future is quite bright for the Swedish guys. After some struggles at the start with, among other things, failing contracts it looks like they have their career on the road. We’ll see how it works out, but they have a great base. It’s waiting for their international breakthrough.

Final Score: 7,4/10

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Justin

Founder of Our Music 4 Life. Pure love for music. Always searching for new, unknown, talented bands. Diehard Rise Against fan. Terrible singer but loves to do it. CD collector. PS: Rise Against is better than Linkin Park.

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