Alien Ants Won’t Cry Uncle

Meredith Kammerer

Alien Ant Farm is the latest in Los Angeles rock band success stories. Their latest release, “ANThology” is full of witty and sharp lyrics that blend well with their tongue-in-cheek perspective throughout the album.

After “ANThology,” no one will ever be able to say that little good has come out of Riverside. All of the members of the band converge smashingly under the lyrics of AAF’s lead singer Dryden Mitchell. Many of his songs feature clever and well-placed puns, which are combined intelligently with heavy metal guitar work.

Upon the initial listen, the heavy guitar riffs are the only element that sticks in the mind. But the second run through unveils many of Mitchell’s lyrical gems.

The melody of “Summer” peaks at loud intervals, dying down like seasons of the year: “Tried to give you summer, but I’m winter/Wish I could make you make you spring, but I fall so hard.” Initially, this seems like the best thing on the album, but the fun does not stop with “Summer.”

“Attitude” features an intricate combination of repetition and much more emotion than the rest of the album. This is also Mitchell’s favorite song on the album: “I’m not very good at relationships and have done bad things in the past. With `Attitude,’ I’m telling a girl that her feelings of rage are acceptable — everything she does is OK because the guy she’s in a relationship with did such horrendous things.”

By far the best track on the whole album is not an AAF original. Alas, it comes courtesy of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. The “Smooth Criminal” cover is genius. Instead of the overly electronic instrumental chorus of the Jackson original, AAF uses a heavy metal guitar chorus that is perfectly timed and executed. Mitchell’s vocals are not only similar to Jackson’s (without being too campy), but they fit ideally with the tempo and key of the rest of the song.

Alien Ant Farm has created a CD that is the antithesis of those of many of their contemporaries who not only take themselves too seriously, but also whine endlessly about their pitiful relationships. Granted, 90 percent of “ANThology’s” lyrics are based on Mitchell’s past relationships, but his take on expressing them is refreshingly tongue-in-cheek.

Papa Roach’s New Noize label has also helped to give AAF a boost into regular rotation on KROQ. About working with Papa Roach, Mitchell said, “They had a fan base in Northern California, and we had a fan base in Southern California, so we began swapping shows; we’d hook them up with gigs down here and they’d hook us up with gigs up there.”

If Papa Roach’s success is any indicator of how well the two bands appeal to the hard-hitting, metal audiences, “ANThology’s” intelligence and humor will stick like glue.