It is clear that the new fad for record labels is "screamo." With bands like From Autumn to Ashes, Thrice, and Thursday all having their next release on a major, it seems as if this trend is quite evident. Quite aptly, Epic has decided to cash in and try to milk this already dying cow, by signing Vendetta Red. However, instead of choosing a generic, boring band, they have done a very solid job selecting a band.
Vendetta Red is a band out of Seattle. This is their third release, and first full-length on Epic. Clearly, this band will be marketed as a “screamo” band, and comparisons will be quickly drawn to The Used. However, Vendetta Red successfully turns this genre around with a captivating and explosive record.
Since it seems like this is a popular way to explain a band’s sound, I will pander to your wishes. Vendetta Red sounds like a band that has been playing in small, smelly clubs for many years, and now has started to play in stadiums, thus having to adopt to the sound. They find their niche somewhere between these two, where the listener is not distracted by the fireworks in the arena and is not dying of heat and exhaustion in the small club. Zach Davidson serves as a perfect front man, with his incredible range and volatile, addictive power. This best way to describe him is to section him into four completely different singers, for each way he strains his voice. He draws comparisons to Roger Daltrey with his appearance, but when he normally sings, it will remind the listener of the Who lead man. When he holds his notes for a long period of time, he sounds like Morrissey. When he screams, he sounds like Bert McCracken. Finally, when he reaches for those high notes, he sounds like Claudio Sanchez having a falsetto competition with Cedric Bixler.
Between the Now and the Never is over fourty minutes long, but it never has the dragging feeling. It never feels like you are listening to the same song over and over again, a problem that constantly plagues the “screamo” genre. Davidson inter-mixes his different vocal styles, never just screaming or singing. His lyrics come from tales of abuse at home(don’t worry, they aren’t Staind) and living life on the run. He never employs tried clichés, but sometimes the lyrics are just a little too much. For example, “They wear their sheepskins, but you are the monster breathing men would kill.” It is not disputable that this guy can write, but sometimes his lyrics have the feeling of being preachy, but you aren’t quite sure what he’s preaching about. Even though a constant theme of sadness runs through the veins of these songs, there is a gleaming light of hope, present in all of them. The songs vary from the beautifully, apocalyptic sing-a-long “Shatterday” to the beat-poet like breakdown in “P.S. Love the Black.” All of their songs embody intense sing-a-long characteristics. Every song makes you want to learn the lyrics immediately.
Along with the qualities of the front man, the band is extremely talented. Not every one of their riffs just contains three chords. Their guitarists work by playing together and off each other. The bassist finds a place to play with them, and sometimes works with a running bass line. And the drummer, is well, just the drummer.
This album is good. It is simply good. It doesn’t feed off of lyrical clichés. It doesn’t sound like every other album you can purchase. Don’t expect Nevermind, but don’t expect another Victory album. It is currently selling at Best Buy and Circuit City for $6.99, a very reasonable price compared to current prices. Vendetta Red is successful in making a very appealing album. They are likely to do very well and go far. Even if their album does not sell well with Epic, I’m sure any indie label would be glad to pick them up and support them.
Nonetheless, you get a talented vocalist, a talented band, weird, gloomy but hopeful lyrics, a very neat insert, and an overall good buy. I do have to say I am very satisfied and very impressed by this band. You will be too.