It’s odd when one can immediately identify professionalism from a band; everything methodically planned and placed in such a way to convey a sense of power and struggle. This foresight goes to waste if it is not matched and executed properly by an adequate producer or sound engineer; luckily, Voices and Vessels three song EP, Those who Deceive, comes off professional, powerful, and polished. However, behind this shiny armor, the song writing itself comes off as generic and often predictable; which ironically gives new meaning to the title of this EP.
There is a lot to be said…
So first off, this release is an EP, but it doesn’t feel like one. Rather it comes across as a sampler of their ability to write “heavy” music. This is unfortunate because this band is actually quite talented. They do a good job harnessing angst and longing, but they do so frivolously; taking cues from hundreds of bands that have arrived on the scene many years before them. These three songs are a cookie cutter mold of screamo evolved, and the product is tasteless; or rather, bland now from years of over exposure.
The amount of cliché’s packed into the first track Abandoned Roots is outrageous; we start with the slow electro fade in to invoke a sense of loss and uncertainty; enter a nu-metal bass tone that would make Fieldy of Korn proud; enter verse; enter break down with keyboard; enter electronic drums; and, of course, enter mediocre angelic auto-tuned singer. Jesus christ, good bands embrace their inabilities to perform; using tricks of the trade to shine up something that made some other band famous will not benefit your own.
I will say the second track, “A Cure to Come Back Home” is probably my favorite solely due to the vocal delivery in the opening seconds. My hope for an inventive song quickly gets quelled by more auto-tune, and subsequent breakdown with keyboard (only to be followed by another electro-drum break).
Finally, the single: Relentless Precision. The type of music that makes your girl friends swoon and your guy friends mosh. It’s got all of what you need; in fact, you may not need to listen to the other two songs because this EP could very well be one large track. There isn’t anything special about any one of these songs; they come off formulaic and completely uninspiring.
This band isn’t untalented, just very underdeveloped. The choices made in the song writing are not creative, but rather typical of the genre they are contributing to; or rather, emulating. This is a shame because it’s not like what they’re playing is easy! The drummer is great. The guitar players do the whole lead/rhythm thing well and the classic heavy delay leads make things very early 2000’s screamo. The singer has an incredible range and his ability to remain as audible as he is commendable! These aren’t bad musicians; they just write mediocre music collectively… which isn’t unusual.
Over all, this fourth release by Voices and Vessels I found to be lackluster and underwhelming. There is no heart, and anything “inventive” has been done hundreds of times over. Don’t be deceived, pre-production and thousands of dollars worth of studio time does not make uncreative music better; it makes it louder and shinier.