Half A Halo
"The Thrashing Floor EP"

(DUP Records 2004)Half A Halo - The Thrashing Floor EP

Some things just do not blend. Water and oil comes to mind as the obvious example. Similarly, Canada's Half A Halo's sound seems to come in two parts. The first is driven by gentle, almost melodic vocals, and a modern alt metal kind of instrumentation.

Half A Halo's other side is more power metal, heavy riffs push while gruff "screamo," as the CD labels it, vocals add a feeling of distress to the music. But these two parts, while overlapping occasionally, generally stay separate, like magnets repelling one another.

Talk about mixed messages. "What is life worth/Nothing/I'm doing what I can/Bullshit," they tell you on the edgy opener "Outstretch." Meanwhile, the album's linear notes include the lyrics with not so subliminal messages -- three words from each song are highlighted for notes like "Help someone now" and "God is real."

Elsewhere, it is guitarist and lead singer Dave Thompson's soft vocals contrasting the rock oriented "Losing Sound" that helps to create a more cohesive track. Strong guitar riffs lead the EP. An intricate guitar line and heavy riffs set the background for "Plateau" and an appearance from distressed vocalist and bass player John Pegg. The quick rap rock of "The King & I" comes off as mediocre, especially when followed by the slow driving, near pop of "The Wait." Half A Halo's closing track, "Past," goes speeding with no abandon.

Aptly named, Half A Halo's music is both angelic and devilish, not yet earning their wings or their horns. "The Thrashing Floor EP" picks up where a number of current mainstream bands leave off but lacks a special spirit to allow Half A Halo to standout in the crowd.