Much to my perverse delight, the dubious “nu-metal” scene of today has steadily become the ubiquitous “hair metal” one more than a decade previous • as cliched, predictable, formulaic, and dumb, if not more so in most cases, boobs n’ booze partying replaced by broken-home, hand-wringing angst. Truly, the Stainds and Limp Bizkits of the modern world are the Poisons and Bon Jovis of yesteryear, whereas their lesser (sales-wise, at least) contemporaries are the Pretty Boy Floyds and Roxx Gangs of the same era (late ’80s). Lifer and Crossbreed would most definitely be the Pretty Boy Floyd and Roxx Gang (take your pick • they’re pretty much interchangeable) of the nu-metal set, doomed from the start to fail for want of a discernible identity. Basically, if you’ve heard the nu-metal littering the airwaves right now, you’ve heard Lifer’s eponymous debut and Crossbreed’s Synthetic Division one: occasional raps (and poorly), wannabe-Tool vocal harmonies (ditto), the requisite power ballad (nu-metal has ’em, too), half-baked (if at all) techno flourishes, Pro Tooled guitar buffering, and a general “why bother?” malaise to it all, Lifer being the more radio-ready, Crossbreed the more aggro. As if it matters. Don’t try to tell me otherwise • this is the state of the nation.