...And Justice for All

Agnostic Front, you stand before us accused of ripping off Hatebreed. How do you plead?

For Ozzy Osbourne, getting sued is as much an everyday event as looking befuddled and struggling to operate Velcro. But recently, Ozzy was hit with some fairly unprecedented legal action -- even for a guy known for urinating in public and biting the heads off stuff.

Last month, an Illinois man filed a class-action suit against him seeking compensation for his purchase of a pair of remastered Ozzy Osbourne LPs (Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman), on which the original drummer and bassist had been replaced. The fan, Anthony Wester, claims there's a noticeable difference with the new players. The updated versions aren't as good. He wants his money back.

This ingenious move -- along with last week's Soilwork show and this week's tour stops by two of the miscreants listed below -- got us to thinking about some artists who should also be sued for Crimes Against Quality Recordings. So we asked Press lawyers to file the following actions:


3 Doors Down, Agnostic Front

Defendant: 3 Doors Down

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Claim: Counterfeit sincerity

Background: This band's cubic-zirconium emoting is as fake as a congressman's smile. Presumably, the group's latest is titled Seventeen Days because that's how long the cloying, overwrought disc seems to last. Nearly each of the dozen songs is a pleading power ballad bursting with trite sentiment ("I'm trying to be somebody," "I can't keep going," "This is not the life for me") that's sappy enough to make Mitch Albom blush.

Defendant: Ludacris

Complaint: Misguided machismo

Background: When he broke onto the scene, Ludacris was kind of like a ghetto Gilbert Gottfried: a small guy with a big mouth who could elicit a grin from a tire iron. But on his fourth disc, Red Light District, Luda tries to get all Hanz and Franz on your ass and act the tough guy -- which is as intimidating as Emmanuel Lewis demanding your lunch money. "Hey, little stupid, don't make me lose it," he snarls on this terse, overserious disc, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he already has lost it. We liked him a whole lot better when he was rhyming about getting higher than a giraffe's butt.

Defendant: Soilwork

Complaint: Pussifying metal

Background: A grinding metal band that insists upon forcing hammy modern rock choruses into every song is about as effective as a porn star who only makes love with the lights out. Cheesy, Bic-in-the-air sing-alongs are for Third Eye Blind, not thrash bands. And yet the dudes in Soilwork continue to emasculate metal on their latest, Stabbing the Drama, with a singer bent on channeling his inner Phil Collins on every track. These guys are consistently overhyped for their harmonic speed metal, but in this genre, melody should come from the guitars, not the vocals. When singer Bjorn Strid growls, "I'll take back what's mine" on "Stalemate," we can only hope he's speaking about his testicles.

Defendant: Chemical Brothers

Complaint: Loitering

Background: To say that the Chemical Brothers' latest should have been titled Push the (Eject) Button is an easy pun, but it's fitting, considering how half-assed the disc is. Their sound is as exhausting as our bad jokes: Fat, farting beats, oscillating sirens and bullying bass lines color most every tune. Toss in some rote guest spots from has-beens like Q-Tip and the Charlatans, and you've got a disc with all the personality of a grapefruit.

Defendant: Agnostic Front

Complaint: Copyright infringement

Background: On its latest LP, Another Voice, Agnostic Front bites Hatebreed so hard, Jamey Jasta and Co. are surely getting tetanus shots as we speak. For the once-legendary Front to suddenly start taking its cues from the dullards in Hatebreed is like Jack Nicholson seeking acting pointers from Benji. And yet their ninth full-length teems with 'Breedisms: big, dumb breakdowns, crappy solos and nonstop self-help sermonizing from front man Roger Miret, who conjures images of Dr. Phil with a neck tattoo. The Front has retreated.

3 Doors Down appears Saturday, April 23, at Buzzfest, with a slew of other bands at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands. For more information, call 281-363-3300.

Agnostic Front appears with All Shall Perish, Death Before Dishonor and Martyr A.D. on Monday, April 25, at the Engine Room, 1515 Pease. For more information, call 713-659-7846.

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