Versus the Mirror - Home (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Versus the Mirror

Home (2006)

Equal Vision

Post-hardcore is a most ambiguous genre these days. It began as the term to describe its grandfathers in Fugazi and, as most musical style names do, tended to degrade, eventually describing a plethora of weak, whiny rock acts. And even now, there's further confusion with it sometimes being used to label metal/hardcore bands with the slightest lick of angularity or otherwise (I've seen Botch labelled the term, and that's just weird). But with Versus the Mirror's Home, I think a band has finally come along that sort of makes sense to throw under both the metalcore and post-hardcore headings.

The Tucson, AZ natives are definitely beginning to shed the obvious comparisons of their mates in state the Bled, forging a newer territory that often embraces much more melodic and sometimes post-rock referencing guitars. The band recorded Home without a clip of distortion and that's likely what gives the album such a light, easy hold to grasp onto (as well as the crisp production from Bob Hoag [appropriately accompanied by some glossy liner notes]). And as far as further comparisons go, whatever honest-to-God musical creativity Underoath had on their polarizing effort They're Only Chasing Safety is brought to full fruition on Home by VTM in this sense.

However, rest assured David Siebold hasn't lost a trace of his intensity; he's still screaming his voice to shreds atop the band's compositions. Backup vocals are completely absent from the recordings, which, while does hurt versatility in that area, presents a constant juxtaposition between the vocals and music. Hearing the soft, atmospheric plucks of "Great White Zombie" and minor piano use in "Life as a Criminal" offer brief interludes between Siebold's onslaught is a flip-flop the band takes on as their own. "Birthed by Architecture" even has this riff that could basically be described as playful. "The Sound Asleep" is a dark, electronica-based mid-album segue that further proves the Underoath comparisons. The title track is another instrumental, even moodier and full of texture that's more Godspeed than anything. Luckily, hooks are still aplenty, most especially in the first half with tracks like the aforementioned "Architecture" and "Smoke It to the Rope."

Home is a considerable step up for Versus the Mirror, showcasing a band seemingly skipping over most silly trends and instead embracing some relatively fresh ideas. What the listener gets is a plate full of unexpected tastes instead of the same ingredients the recipe would usually call for.

Birthed by Architecture
Barracuda Capital of the World
Life as a Criminal