Viva Death - Viva Death (Cover Artwork)

Viva Death

Viva Death: Viva DeathViva Death (2002)
Vagrant Records

Reviewer Rating: 1.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: maverickScott
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Viva Death is mainly the brainchild of Trever Keith and Scott Shiflett of Face To Face. Sure, Josh Freese [of the Vandals, Devo, A Perfect Circle, and more] plays drums on the disc, and Chris Shiflett [of Foo Fighters/No Use For A Name] plays guitar, but this is mainly Trever and Scott's project. .
iTunes StoreAmazon

Viva Death is mainly the brainchild of Trever Keith and Scott Shiflett of Face To Face. Sure, Josh Freese [of the Vandals, Devo, A Perfect Circle, and more] plays drums on the disc, and Chris Shiflett [of Foo Fighters/No Use For A Name] plays guitar, but this is mainly Trever and Scott's project.

I am thereby not surprised that it sucks.

Okay, a lot of you are pissed at me right now, so go ahead and post comments about how much I suck, how fat I am, etc. But if you actually buy this album, you will come to the same conclusion as I do: this is just bad.

The premise behind the band is all the guitars are baritone guitars - this means they are tuned in between your typical electric guitars and bass guitars. To quote the press release, "[the instruments have a] natural predisposition to create dangerous music." If that still doesn't make sense to you, think of the sinister themes from all the James Bond movies, and cross them with some minor key surf music [think the theme from Pulp Fiction]. Then add in Trever Keith's predictable monotone voice, and you have Viva Death.

I'll admit, the first couple of songs have my toes tapping. "Fundamentalist" is a great rocking opener to the disc, and it's followed by the CD's strongest cut, "the Start Up." Both these songs incorporate the influences stated earlier, and yet, both sound different enough to allow the listener to groove to both.

So where's the problem lie? In the majority of the album's other 13 tracks. They all just blend together. There is only so much you can do with a baritone guitar, and these guys pretty much covered all the bases after a handful of songs. The music just gets stale, old, repetitive, and headache inducing after a while, with only one minor respite: the campy pseudo-lounge jazz of "The Rigor Mortis Shake" halfway through the album. After that, it's just more of the same until the CD concludes at a way too heavyhanded 45:10.

Everyone always talks about Keith's ability to write thought provoking and intelligent lyrics, but why bother when you can't even understand what he's singing for the majority of the album? The vocals are so muddied on this album it's not even funny. They really wanted the guitars to take precedence over the words, which is simply pointless because a gimmick such as that wears thin really quickly.

There is really no reason you should buy this, unless you're a completist of some sort. I'd rather put on the latest Face To Face record than sit through this album again.

Blood and Oranges


Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (May 4, 2003)

i bought this album, listened to Trust Me (a song i loved from the vagrant sampler), listened to the rest of the album in 10 seconds, and threw it to the corner of my room because i thought it was shit. two weeks later i come back and hey, its actually good stuff. good songs like fundamentalist and trust me mixed with songs like desire us a flood and the rigor mortis shake... this is good stuff

waste_elite (September 29, 2002)

yeah, some of the other discussions may be even more infantile, but at least they are amusing. the "no rules" shit is just common knowledge. anyone that thinks they live by no rules whatsoever is incredibly naive.

fuck it, now we're arguing over arguing. what's the world coming to.

Anonymous (September 29, 2002)

whats more infantile? this conversation, the conversation going on between scott and some anonymous guy on the other viva death review "man nufan's got some hot girlfriends" conversation. im not above calling this conversation infantile, cause it kind of is. look at it in this sense, this conversation is the intellectual equivalent of three years old tea party, but most of the conversations on this page are hell of a lot less meaningful.

Anonymous (September 29, 2002)

You can do just as much with a baritone guitar as you can a regular guitar. It's all just a matter of ability.

waste_elite (September 28, 2002)

yes this conversation is incredibly stupid because you guys wax poetic about something so incredibly infantile. there will always be rules in some way, shape, or form and we follow them whether we realize it or not. simple as that.

Anonymous (September 28, 2002)

ignorance is bliss, at least you'll die a happy man. btw im not in high school, i just may have more education than you do.

Anonymous (September 28, 2002)

I'm donew with this board, I'm tired of arguing with highschoolers who think they need rules. Later dopes

Anonymous (September 28, 2002)

People...whgat a sad world you live in- to point at someone and say they are stuck in a decade- THERE ARE NO DECADES DUMBASS, it's just something created in your mind. No rules is not a rule in itself buddy, because if you do what you want someone else will do what they want, if they conflict, then the strongest will survive bud, that isn't a rule. That's just fact. You hide behind your rules, behind your lame group ideology, behind your generation gaps and strong reliance on your society. And I knowq all of the little unintelligent kids are gonna come on and say how I thinkl I'm mr. Punk and how im stuck some where, but unlike you idiotic children, I understand this stuff as it is because it is truth, not because you guys think it has something to do with someone's scene or a decade. You guys are sad, a disgrace to being a human. You're part of the problem. Right up there with the moron president of this "country"- you sir, are a moron!

Anonymous (September 28, 2002)

you think this conversation is stupid?
trust me, and i think you know, it gets a hell of a lot worse than this on this page. people posting simple one line rants that are: 1. unintelligable
2. just outright retarded, the conversation on how good looking guys in bands girlfriends were comes to mind.
lets think about that one for a second, and realize exactly what it is...tabloid gossip. mindless fodder for a new generation of idolators.

you can call this conversation stupid, its pretty much ok with me, cause you got your own opinions and i got mine. at least, we're talking about something that has some value to it. we're exchanging ideas and opinions, something you would think might go on a little more often on this site than it really does.

Anonymous (September 28, 2002)

not to mention, the no rules ideology is a total oxymoron. the no rules idea is a rule itself. in order to have no rules, you have to have common agreement with peole that there are no rules. its a complete and total contradiction.

move on man, you dont want to be that guy who everybody says is lost in the 80's.

no rules is impossible, the real trick is which rules should stay and which rules should go. start thinking in those terms and you may make progress and not end up burnt out and shitty because your world sucks.

waste_elite (September 28, 2002)

"You idiots with your groups and little rules are the reason why punk is dead."

i'm pretty sure he was talking about all the little subcultures with "do's" and "do not's" such as straight edge. not about rules in general.

some of these conversations are so fucking stupid

Anonymous (September 27, 2002)

No, actuall,y it's an overlooked idea- overlooked by chickshits like you. Clothes aren't rules stupid, we wear them to keep our skin from being burned and for other common sense reasons, and I don't comb my hair so don't start that shit dummy.

Anonymous (September 27, 2002)

you wear clothes right? you comb your hair? you bathe? you drive on the right side of the road (if you're american)? these are rules my friend and they're called culture. culture is nothing but set of rules to live by and you were told to follow them and ill bet my "for your lungs only" 7" that you follow at least three of them. i dont mean to destroy your fantasy but everything you and i are...is based on a set of rules that we follow.

a no rules philosophy is way too idealistic for the world we live in today...its worn out. useless for modern times. saying "no rules" is the equivalent of saying "all you need is love" "flower power" and things like that.

its an outdated idea, you should move on

Anonymous (September 27, 2002)

Anyone who believes in rules is a complete and total idiot. You liove by what is right and wrong in your opinion, not by rules dumbass. If you think someone else can tell you what to do you are a sad, sad example of mankind.

Anonymous (September 27, 2002)

no rules is a retarded and impossible idea...one i bet you've convinced yourself you live by.

Anonymous (September 27, 2002)

You idiots with your groups and little rules are the reason why punk is dead.

Anonymous (September 27, 2002)

a very important point that is only relevant to you

-the fortune cookie psychologist

Anonymous (September 27, 2002)

HA! HA! HA! You guys just proved my point with the past 5 idiotic rantings! HA! morons

Anonymous (September 27, 2002)

sxe is so dumb

Anonymous (September 27, 2002)

oops..3 posts below me..sorry..now actaully 4

Anonymous (September 27, 2002)

two posts below me...the rantingly idiotic sxe conversation that you had to take part in...join the idiocy brigade, we are taking new members.

evildeadalive (September 27, 2002)

The most unhealthy people I know are vegans. Maybe it's healthy to be an educated vegan, but certainly not an uneducated one.

Anonymous (September 27, 2002)

hey fatty,

ooo. looks like i struck a nerve. neato.

i know you're fat, and you're shirts are still too small. probably not intentional, but nonetheless true.

you still can't write, and plugging your other missive is very pathetic. before taking fingers to keyboard perhaps drop the agenda...? nah, you'd still seem illiterate.

anyhoo, go cry, mr. clarity.

boo hoo.


Anonymous (September 27, 2002)

Children, Children, Children....................this is a comment for this rantingly idiotic sXe arguement. First off, when Ian MacKaye yelled, "I've got the straight edge!", he meant that he felt like he was a "straight edge" of a razor or something, very clean and to the point. The whole idea is just a healthy and unidiotic way of thinking, it's not a group or a cult like you stupid little kids make it out to be. There are no rules, if you wanna smoke and drink go for it, it's your choice. It's just not a smart or healthy one, I mean, if your in a fight or if you're an athlete- smoking and drinking are gonna slow you down. It's just common sense, you peple are so stupid, punk isn't about groups and cults and that nonsense, it's about being yourself and doing whatever the fuck you want, no rules kids, no boundaries- the only ones there are the ones that you've created yourself in your head. As far as the Vegan thing goes, it is, again, just common sense. Beef and pork are extremely high in fat content, fish and chicken are far wiser choices- but overall eating tofu, vegetables, fruits and other foods is a much healthier way to go, Tofu is full of protien, great for building muscle, no meat is truely needed therefore it is just "filler". And I'm sure some people do it because they don't like eating dead animals as well, but that's up to them and is their choice, not yours, so why the fuck are you bagging on them? All this "I'll do it cause it's trendy or cause it's cool" shit is really getting annoying, grow a brain and a sense of self worth, you petty fools.

maverick (September 27, 2002)

To the anonymous guy below me:

1. I was never trying to write for Buddyhead. I don't even think they *can* write reviews as long [or as grammatically correct] as this one.
2. I've never dyed my hair any color ever.
3. I'm fat. If I ever even thought about wearing a YL t-shirt, people would go blind. Seriously.
4. And the reason that I "plugged my own review" [I'm assuming you are referring to the Face To Face one I linked] is because I was relating it to Viva Death - I really disliked the last F2F record [which I show in my F2F review], and I'd *still* rather listen to that than this.
5. "Very Emergency" is my least favorite Promise Ring album. I don't dance to it.
6. Lastly, to quote Derek Zoolander, "I'm not your brah."

Anything else you want to be incorrect about? I'm all ears.


Anonymous (September 27, 2002)

sir, you like the promise ring, and you want to chug brand new's collective shvenzer. why you are reviewing this - wait. why you are reviewing at all is beyond me.

it's not that your review is scathing; it's just boring, grammatically inept, and trying desperately to seem harsh, and failing miserably. i wish it was better, but it was really bland. and no, buddyhead isn't looking for new writers so maybe you should stop trying.

clearly, it's from someone who should stop with the black hair dye and YL shirts as they are cutting off the oxygen to your already pretentious albeit ignorant brain.

honestly, get a bit more creative. and plugging your own review? cool brah. i'll dance to "very emergency" for you and your much needed outreach.

Anonymous (September 27, 2002)

its not a debate, debates have winners and losers, this is a dialogue.

aubin (September 26, 2002)

Well, this is rapidly turning into a straight edge debate, but to the guy who asked:

Does drug use make you ignorant?

Well, no, of course not. But there is a line between occaisonal use (like some of my friends partake) and the guys who spend all their time screwed up.

I think it's a personal choice, and it's not damaging unless you abuse it. I don't encourage it, but I don't discourage it either. If it's not my body, it's none of my business what you do with yours.

Anonymous (September 26, 2002)

ap had an open minded review because they're a shit rag. the rip of our generation.

Anonymous (September 26, 2002)

there are a lot of people out there who dont smoke marijuana who fit that description as well. probabably more.

Anonymous (September 26, 2002)

marijuana is worse to me. I'd rather be in a dark alley with a heroin fiend than a pothead.

Every pothead says the same thing. Marijuana is safe and doesnt change you.

It just makes you really unfunny, and lame.

I'd rather be giving head for crack.
Speaking of which, I've got a visitor.
wyzo hates the ganj
Passes the dutchie.

waste_elite (September 26, 2002)

early cure kicks ass.

pornography = godlike

Anonymous (September 26, 2002)

i got a question for the person who posted like 4 below this. i mean no disrespect to your lifestyle, but do you believe the idea self medication (drug use) will lead to an ignorant person?

cause i dont buy that whatsoever. i agree with the idea of respecting your body and treating it well, but i dont think moderate use of drugs will make you stupid. i guess im referring to less addictive drugs like marijuana.

i understand you posted them as ian's ideas, i would like to know your thoughts or anybody else's really.

Anonymous (September 26, 2002)

There's kinda an early Cure sound in some of the songs,and Scott has this hot Bauhaus sort of David Bowieish sound to his voice.I really enjoyed hearing another side of Scott and Trever.Something they would've never expressed in face to face.I'd love to see this live. {by the way,I totally disagree,Trever is not monotone}

Anonymous (September 26, 2002)

Amen chaser, i dig this alot,if you like f2f, you should like this,the reviewer in alternative press had a really open minded review of this. (scott why dont you open yours-oldpunker-

Chaser (September 26, 2002)

I was lucky enough to get my hands on this album a while ago. I find it refreshing. Misled is a great song, buying the whole album is totally worth it just for that one alone. But there are others that rock just as much.

Scott, I really wish that you would stop reviewing bands that you, 1) know you don't like and 2) have members of bands you don't like. It's like you have a personal vendetta or something!

aubin (September 26, 2002)

I am going to have to agree with Scott on this one. While it starts off pretty well, the boredom factor creeps up pretty quickly before you hid the middle of the record.

As for straight edge, it's a personal choice. The main principles of straight edge, according to Ian, was awareness; not being self-medicated into ignorance. I think that's a good thing. Until militant bands like Earth Crisis came along, no one seemed bothered by straight edge, but the way EC antagonized people both musically and at it's shows turned a lot of people off. I was a straight edge vegan for some time, but I don't want to call myself that because I don't want to be associated with those zealots.

Straight Edge via Minor Threat = self-awareness and control.

Straight Edge via Earth Crisis =
beating up drunks and people wearing leather

Guess which one I agree with.

Anonymous (September 26, 2002)

I like it.... ,remember everone this review is from scott.. Someone who obviously has crappy taste in music anyway

Anonymous (September 26, 2002)

Not Monotone

waste_elite (September 25, 2002)

i'll never understand sXe

Anonymous (September 25, 2002)

Tylenol is not aspirin.

Anonymous (September 25, 2002)

Not a bad album, but not a great album either. I do prefer it to the lastest face to face record. Desire is a flood and trust me are the best tracks.

Anonymous (September 25, 2002)

"what the fucks wrong with drinkin a few beers will some buds while watching a game or something"

like straight edge people never heard that before. you sir, are one simple human being.

Anonymous (September 25, 2002)

i imagine there are sxers out there who dont ingest sugar either...some (i did say some) of them can be a bit...hmmm...over-zealous

Anonymous (September 25, 2002)

I wouldn't say that Viva Death absolutely sucks. Most of the songs are well written and the baritone songs give the sound more towards outlaw. But like the last Face To Face, the damn arena rock ruined it and so did it on this album. Trever voice is to monotone to sing all these songs. If you're like me, try and find the album for 5 bucks like I did.


maverick (September 25, 2002)

Since when are straight edgers not allowed to take aspirin? I had some Tylenol last night.


Anonymous (September 25, 2002)

straight edge is the biggest joke in the world half the kids who are sxe end up breaking it. what the fucks wrong with drinkin a few beers will some buds while watching a game or something. that shit is soo lame. why not take a pill to relieve your headache instead of just bearing it no thinks your cool your just a fuckin idiot.


maverick (September 25, 2002)

To the anonymous poster 3 comments down:

I know the Pulp Fiction theme is by Dick Dale, but how many other people know that? It's an easier association if I say "the Pulp Fiction" theme, more people will recognize that.


Anonymous (September 25, 2002)

the last face to face record is the shit

Anonymous (September 25, 2002)

why u trashing keith, this is totally scotts project, he wrote 13 of the 15 songs, and trever is the shit, and what do u mean predictable voice? what the fuck does that mean......when u here fat mikes voice, u can tell who it is, when u here tim armstrong's voice u can tell who it is, the whole point is to have a distinctive voice. i do agree that this cd isnt all that great, but dont go trashing the guys because they tried something new.

Anonymous (September 25, 2002)

It's not the theme to pulp fiction. It's Miserlou by Dick Dale and the Daletones. Just as a point of clarification.

Anonymous (September 25, 2002)

Hey Scott,

Don't absue your power- if you can even call it that - here...if someone LIKES the songs they've heard don't tell them to not "buy" into the MP3's...hell YOU posted them.

maverick (September 25, 2002)

Don't buy into the mp3s! Like I said in the review, it sounds good for a few songs, but when there's 15 tracks of it, it gets *really* old.


evildeadalive (September 25, 2002)

Wow. I really like those songs...

evildeadalive (September 25, 2002)

As far as I know, was it not Ian Mackaye who introduced being a vegan to being staight edge? I've read interviews with him where he said he was, and was ridiculed for it, and for all of a sudden 'changing the rules' as he put it.
...although this probably was post-Minor Threat.

Anonymous (September 25, 2002)

I like baritone guitars so thats me.
I still don't love this record, but I like it over the new face to face.

And like I said, Im biased for baritone guitars.


Anonymous (September 25, 2002)

From those mp3's it sounds pretty good and I disagree about Trever's voice, it's great, give me it anyday than whiny nasal scream.


maverick (September 25, 2002)

Straight edge like Minor Threat.

If eating meat is murder, then lock me up and throw away the key.

Just like you should throw away this album.

Conversely, I'm listening to the new Rocket From The Crypt right now and I'm actually digging it [which is funny, cause I never really liked them before].


Anonymous (September 25, 2002)

I'm pretty sure this band sucks

Anonymous (September 25, 2002)

Well first off,

Trever doesn't sing all the songs on the record...actually he only sings about half of them; Scott sings the other half, the exception being Rigor Mortis Shake - which Evil Wilhelm sings and composed the lyrics for.

While I admit some of the songs sound a little similar, a song like Desire Us a Flood and Misled sound nothing alike in terms of tempo and voice.

I'm glad I bought this record...its actually really good stuff.

aubin (September 24, 2002)

Straight edge like the Minor Threat version or the Earth Crisis Version? (Fancy way of asking if you're a vegan)

maverick (September 24, 2002)

To the anonymous poster 2 comments down:

No, I am not drunk. I'm straight edge.

Feel free to make fun of me for that, too.


travis (September 24, 2002)

i like older face to face, but i agree with scott that trevor keith does not have the best of voices. it is pretty bland.

Anonymous (September 24, 2002)

"Then add in Trever Keith's predictable monotone voice"

uhhhhh, no....are you drunk?

Anonymous (September 24, 2002)

I enjoyed your review.
I am glad I didn't buy this album.
Thanks for the MP3s.
Just becuase you are fat doesn't mean we don't like you Scott.

Anonymous (September 24, 2002)

you suck, there, i said it.

Exclusive Streams


Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Managing Editor

Adam White

Contributing Editors

Kira Wisniewski Brittany Strummer Armando Olivas John Flynn Chris Moran John Gentile Mark Little

Copy Editor

Adam Eisenberg Britt Reiser

Podcast Producer

Greg Simpson


Aubin Paul

ISSN 1710-5366

© Copyright 1999-2013 Punknews.org

Terms of Use Privacy Policy Contact Us About Punknews.org

Other Places to Go