Saturday, December 13, 2008
year end wrap up! Part One!
So with this entry, I begin my countdown of the ten best releases of the year. I will do them one record at a time, the first one being number 10, which is "Rialto" by the Northern Virginia ex-member supergroup Verse En Coma.
Upon first listen I was blown away by this release, and believed it lived up to the pedigree of the members oft-mentioned former and current bands: Pg. 99, Darkest Hour, City Of Caterpillar, and Haram. The release particularly calls to mind the work of Malady, and from what I understand a lot of this music came from writing sessions that were intended to be new Malady songs, before they broke up in 2006. Featuring just the melodic, soaring and unconventional guitar-work that you would expect from guitarist Jeff Kane(City Of Caterpillar), laid on top of Ryan Parrish(Darkest Hour)'s relentless and pummeling percussive attack. It's good to hear him doing something else besides galloping 4/4 double bass metal shit.
One thing that makes this releases particularly memorable. the CHORUSES man, the fucking choruses. Each chorus on this album is epic as hell, with everything coming together with enough power and climactic energy to tear a new hole in the universe. Not really, but shit is enough to really catch your attention and move you. I hear a lot of influences from bands outside of the hardcore/punk genre, as the NoVa hardcore scene is known for doing. Seems that with each release that the ex-pg.99 crew puts out, they get further and further away from the Born Against/Sonic Youth thing, but I appreciate this dedication to keep pushing in new directions. Can these folks put out a bad record?
The one frustrating thing is that the lyrics are sometimes questionable and don't seem to always fit. They're written in a pretty straight forward, storytelling style, which works at points and then doesn't work at others. "DCC Cassette" is a sad tale of a friend's death, the same friend who got the vocalist into punk rock by making a tape for his brother that he then stole and changed his life from listening to it over and over again. I've always felt an essential feature of punk rock is a sense of immortality, or quite the opposite, a reckless sense of accepting mortality, as Modern Life Is War said once "death is more perfect than life, that's why we already died." So anyway, these lyrics aim well but miss the mark kind of. "the tape was for her/but i stole it away/the sticker you put on is rubbing off/but THE TAPE STILL PLAYS!!!" uhh, good idea, bad execution, bro.
I also have no idea if this band has played any live shows, or is even still a band. They have never announced any shows nor any intention to play any. It may be just a recording project, which is dissapointing, cause I know these songs could be really powerful if performed live.
Anyway, definitely give this record a shot. It was released on 10" with a digital copy inside by Robotic Empire. You can also get it on iTunes. Their myspace is http://www.myspace.com/verseencoma, if you would like to listen to mp3's.
so that's Number Ten, y'all!! Check back soon for Number Nine!!