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The rap-rock originators

This is supposed to be the summer in which hard rock makes a comeback. Since the mid-'90s, the genre's popularity has diminished as teenage pop acts climbed the charts. However, record companies seem to be rediscovering hard rock by promoting both new and established acts.

Within this resurrection scene is a band staging its own comeback. Nebraska natives 311, pioneers of the rap-rock fusion sound that swept the country not too long ago, are back with their sixth album, entitled From Chaos. After ruling the airwaves back in '95-'96, with hits like "Down" and "All Mixed Up," 311 slipped back into the shadows for a few years. Since then, they've released two decent albums, sued their record company for lack of promotion, and signed with a new label.

From Chaos is not a huge departure for 311, but it does show signs of the band's maturity. Like 311's previous albums, From Chaos is fueled by thick, distorted guitars, crashing drums and irresistible hooks. Tracks like "You Wouldn't Believe" and "I Told Myself" continue in the tradition of hard, catchy 311 tunes with sweet melodies and positive lyrics. In addition, From Chaos showcases some calmer songs, like "Amber," which give this album the balance that their earlier efforts lacked.

311 has never been known for creating musical masterpieces. The boys from Nebraska just want to play hard, fun music, and spread some good vibes with their lyrics. From Chaos achieves this goal, and shows that they're still the best at what they do. They may not be the band that saves rock, but 311 proves with their latest release that the genre is still alive and kicking.

--By Tom Jackson

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