"Making this record wasn't just about dealing with the darkness, it was a healing process," said Cold singer Scooter Ward when the group released "A Different Kind Of Pain" in '05. And no wonder. A lot had gone down and not much of it good.
The group parted ways with Geffen Records (landing on Lava) and lost guitarist Terry Balsalmo. It's always tough when a band member leaves but it's embarrassing when they depart for another band. Balsalmo decided to hook up with Evanescence. Guitarist Kelly Hayes also left with Mike Booth and Matt Loughran brought in as replacements. Meanwhile, Ward could hardly catch a break. His girlfriend left him and his sister was battling cancer (later she went into remission) All the while, he was dealing with his substance abuse addiction. Despite this, Ward and drummer Sam McCandless were able to write songs and record with the rest of the group. Sometimes work can be the best therapy.
Ward and company started their career in Atlanta as Grundig. In the mid-90s, the group scooted back to Ward's native Jacksonville. There he wrote songs filled with anger and bitterness. He brought them to Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst who thought they were great. Durst produced the group's demo which got them signed.
Next Cold hit the road opening for Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson and Weezer, becoming an even tighter more focused unit. Their self-titled first album was excellent though the public was a little slow on the uptake - not a major commercial success. '00 release "13 Ways To Bleed Onstage" broadened the group's audience has they went on an extended tour. Balsalmo was added for '03 release "Year Of The Spider."
In an '06 MySpace post Cold reported that they had decided to disband permanently. Ward and McCandless started a new group, The Witch. They were later known as When November Falls before becoming The Killer And The Star. Looking back, "Year Of The Spider" was Cold's highest charting album and both it and the previous album, "13 Ways To Bleed On Stage" went gold.
But just two years later, a Cold reunion tour, with the original members, got underway. But for the '09 trek, Hayes was gone again, replaced by Zach Gilbert. And Michael Harris stepped in for Balsamo.
The band's '11 comeback album, "Superfiction," containing the single "Wicked World" (once album's tentative title), sold over 10,000 copies in it first week of release landing at #37 on the Billboard 200.
2000 13 Ways To Bleed On Stage
2003 Year Of The Spider
2005 A Different Kind Of Pain
"A Different Kind Of Pain" represents another step away from Cold's original intense sound. That's something of a disappointment for fans. Still, "Back Home," "Feel It In Your Heart" and first single "Happens All The Time" are good shots. The only real compliant is the piano-ballad title track. It's lukewarm, not Cold.
The self-titled debut and "13 Ways To Bleed On Stage" nail it. Cold has anger, angst and disillusion, and they play it to the hilt. The sonic density and edgy sound pack a punch. Ward drives it all with the pained, evocative vocals of an outsider. But then it's fairly easy to be an angry young man. Often though, the real world intrudes with life threatening problems. And that usually results in change or at the very least some adjustment. Ward's sister and his girlfriend were diagnosed with cancer. How do you deal with that?
"Year Of The Spider" is loaded with dour lyrics and dark themes. What's odd is the songs "sound" positive. In part, that's augmented by the absence of the minor chords. There's a melodic leaning that makes this set far more accessible. The album also includes a Cobain tribute "The Day Seattle Died" (Staind pays tribute to Alice In Chains' Layne Staley on "13 Shades of Grey" and Cold goes straight to Kurt here - was it all really that long ago?). "Kill The Music Industry," is a timely yet raucous song. First single, "Stupid Girl," is not all that strong so why it got chosen is something of a mystery. Of course, it became a major hit (so there's the answer) as was "Suffocate."
"Wicked World," the lead track on "Superfiction," is a potent song to launch a comeback. Unfortunately, it sets expectations high - too high. Nothing else kicks as hard or cuts as mean. Cold's heaviness is intact, and while the songs are good - even melodic - they could have mined the "Wicked World" vein more deeply.