Vendetta Red's hiatus lasted until 2010, but it's taken them a while to release new music. Scripture is the first of a double EP set, and my expectations were fully justified. Even as a fan of Between The Never and The Now and Sisters of The Red Death, they've infused enough difference in this five-tracker while staying true to the old-school, vintage Vendetta Red of the 2000s to warrant praise.
"Dadda Chim Didda Chum" is a nifty opener; it's not as hard-hitting as one might expect, but it's worthwhile enough. There are shades of Gerard Way at times in Zach Davidson's vocals, but it's clear Vendetta Red wanted to focus on a grainy, coarse and unrefined musical vibe here. Standing in the silhouette of records past is a tall order, but the energy they're known for is here in leaps and bounds.
"Blank Screens" and "Aurora Dive Team" add that hard-punk, thrashy, razor-cutting edge to the EP and with Leif Anderson's abrasive guitars as the centerpiece, it's a helluva ride. That vintage Vendetta Red sound remains, and makes the curveballs stand out that much more. "Coming To Take Me Away" is almost a catchy throwback to "Shatterday," stamped with modicums of melody and angst.
Vendetta Red have always had a knack for exposing Davidson's scream-along vocals and lyrics to a diverse array of musicianship which he somehow always finely tunes into. His voice is attenuated here as perfectly as it was back in the day and "Close To Me" exemplifies just why this EP's worth it. Burke Thomas's drums stand out tremendously here, and throughout, boiling down to a ripping finale.
After the more classic sound of Scripture, Light Year Anniversary is an EP with a more experimental and unconventional, don't-give-a-fuck attitude to it. It's a bit bemusing and out of left field.
"See Without Eyes" jumps for that unique, haunting drum buildup which panders to Davidson's shrill and piercing attempts to paint his story. In fact, there's an overt vibe that this five-tracker acts as a poem embedded within a novel, a sort of concept EP. "Fuck Me On Star Tours" in contrast is a bit more straightforward, but still feels disjointed. The opening tracks feel like a forced attempt to mesh Coheed and Cambria with AFI, but something about it just seems off.
"Always" then proves that ambition doesn't necessarily coincide with the desired effect. As contradictory as this record is to Scripture, it still wasn't expected that Vendetta Red would straight-up replicate the tangibly kickass elements dredged out on tracks like "Close To Me." The contrast is too stark, though, and Vendetta miss the mark. "Sparks" does raise the game a bit however, with the drums of Burke Thomas and Jonah Bergman's bass consistently outstanding.
By the time "Temple of the Winged Serpent" fulfills its role as the record's finale, something's still amiss. Toying with sounds and experimenting to a certain degree can sometimes yield positive results, but this is a major shortcoming in Vendetta's arsenal and a struggle to digest. Here's hoping they plan to plot off the former EP and take Scripture on an expansion because Light Year Anniversary is severely lacking.
Scripture score: Four stars
Light Year Annivserary score: Two stars
Overall score: Three stars