Exclusive: Life On The Sideline EP announcement, music video premiere

Since releasing Honesty Is A Dying Breed two years ago, Life On The Sideline has remained active on the road and is now ready to unveil its upcoming EP, Never Settle. To kick things off, we're premiering the music video for the band's new single, "Echo", which tells the sad story of a young girl reminiscing times spent with her deceased partner. While not a pop punk song per se, it's as catchy as one with an infectious chorus that you'll inevitably get stuck in your head. The band's sound could be compared to that of Transit's and The Early November's. Fans can pre-order the EP on iTunes and CD here, before it's released on June 7th. […]

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Review: Vanna - "Void"

Release InfoVanna - Void
Release Date: June 17th, 2014
Record Label: Pure Noise Records
Pre-order: Digital, CD, vinyl, merch

To be fair, I have never expected much from Vanna; the band consistently releases mediocre and forgettable albums and have regularly been a revolving door of members. Though I gained a sliver of curiosity when it was announced that the band had signed to Pure Noise Records, it wasn’t enough to send me down the road of nostalgia and drag out those old Epitaph compilations, on which I first heard the band, so when the first scream on Void is unleashed, it’s safe to say that I was pleasantly surprised.

For starters, if you’re a big fan of Vanna, this album will rank as one of the best in the band's discography. Everything Vanna does well is done even better on this release. The screams are heavier, the instrumentation more chaotic, and the production heavy and crisp. Lyrics such as “You fucking disgust me” and “...then I’m a filthy fucking mess” will undoubtedly be crowd-pleasing and every breakdown is heavy, brutal, and full of great riffs.

There really are some brief glimpses of greatness on Void, and, though brief, they bring life out in the album. First off, the record, sonically, is amazing. The way each instrument, be it rhythmic or melodic, hits with a truly massive amount of raw energy, which is a necessity in any metal or hardcore record. Vocally, the performances are spot-on. Even the clean vocals, which I have never greatly enjoyed from Vanna’s previous releases, sound like they belong in this collection of highly aggressive songs.

Songs like “Toxic Pretender” and “Holy Hell” help this record start off on a high note. Most of the songs aren’t driven by a single instrument, but rather the combined energy the song provides as a whole. “Bienvenue” is easily one of the most engaging and intriguing songs Vanna has ever released. With a lovely spoken-word bridge that leads to a chaotic ending, it’s a five-minute epic that’s worth listening through a few times. It’s also apparent that Vanna is consciously adding more and more hardcore elements to their music and blending them with their brand of metalcore. I’m also a sucker for great riffage and Void is no slacker in this department.

However, the record is not without its shortfalls, and there are quite a few of them. Many places, there are places where songs just completely drop all the energy they’ve built up. The song “Digging” is a prime example of where things just fell apart on the record. There are no really engaging sections throughout the entire song and several missed opportunities to show off the obvious talents hiding behind the powerchords and simplistic percussion that hides itself behind the vocals. The breakdowns are simple and have been done before as well as the outro, which features distorted, echoed screaming.

This certainly isn’t the only case of failed potential within this record, nor is it the only place where cliche metalcore techniques are used. In fact, much of the record itself falls into the category of “This has been done before”. On occasion, there are lyrics that just make me cringe (“The red, white, black and blue”) and although I praised them just a couple paragraphs before, the clean vocals still have a ways to go before they start adding to these songs.

I’m sure a few of these songs will find themselves being played on my iPod in the future, but there’s no reason to go back and revisit this album often. I have a feeling this record will go the way of those old Epitaph sampler CDs where I first heard Vanna years ago, and retreat to the dusty area of my record collection. Void certainly isn’t bringing anything new to the genre, but it’s still a progression for Vanna that most fans of the band will certainly love.

1. Void
2. Toxic Pretender
3. Holy Hell
4. Digging
5. Yüth Decay
6. Personal Cross
7. Humaphobia
8. Piss Up A Rope
9. Pornocopia
10. Bienvenue
11. All American't

RIYL: Norma Jean, Hundredth, Every Time I Die


More reviews by Josh Jurss