Vanna - Curses
Release Date: April 24, 2007
Record Label: Epitaph
With a new lead singer (Chris Preece) at the helm for their debut Epitaph full-length, Vanna aims to make a mark in the oversaturated metalcore scene with Curses, an album searching for its identity. After releasing their shitstorm of an EP last year (which featured their guitarists Nick Lambert and Evan Pharmakis on vocals, because Preece, due to legal reasons, could not appear on the album), Curses is full of new attitude.
Produced by the well-respected Matt Bayles, Curses can hit hard like Every Time I Die and Norma Jean at times, while at times, they come off sounding like Hawthorne Heights. The album begins with “The Alarm,” which sounds like it was ripped from Alexisonfire’s latest album vocally. Drummer Brandon Davis plays very well here and the verses are fine, but the song loses all steam at the chorus. Yet, the next track, “The Vanishing Orchestra,” just knocks you on your ass. It’s a biting track that completely rips through and through. Preece’s vocals are unforgiving, while Lambert and Pharmakis’ guitars are crushing. Right away, these two tracks show the imbalance on Curses. “Surgical Tools” begins like a freight train, only to get derailed halfway through with an unneeded melody. “We Ate The Horse You Rode On” is the same way, which makes this album incredibly frustrating at times.
“Magnetic Knives” and “Trophy Wives” work well back to back, while “Country Boys…Goddamn” represents how Vanna should structure all their songs. Fast and unrelenting, these type of tracks showcase how talented Vanna are. “This Map Is Old News” is horribly out of place, as Vanna tries to go mid-tempo and adding the scream-sing combo. The song sounds stale, but thankfully “You Were Never Lovlier” follows. Brusing drums, buzzsaw guitars, and decent time signatures make this a nice closer and leaves a good impression on the album, instead of the poor one you get from listening to the melodic tracks mentioned previously.
It’s not that I dislike melody in metalcore, I like it when it’s done well. Unfortunately for Vanna, incorporating that into their songs is a weakness. If they focus more on delivering tracks like “The Vanishing Orchestra” and “Country Boys…Goddamn” consistently on their next album, it’ll be a huge improvement over Curses. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad album, but because of the inconsistency shown, it’s just another forgettable album. The talent and songwriting is there, Vanna just needs to put it to use more often.
In the end, Curses is a solid album flawed by a few bad tracks. Hopefully Vanna won’t be cursed by their lack of direction and they’ll be able to discover their identity on their next album.
Sorry I can't say I agree with your review fully, I thought some of these songs were extremely catchy, especially "The Vanishing Orchestra." That opening riff makes me want to fight someone.
Theres no 1 theme to the CD, as Drew said some songs are out of place. But maybe thats because he felt it was trying(?) to be to much of a metalcore album. Instead, I would of gone with maybe screamo/hardcore. All together I love the CD, the EP was great to, I'd give it a B+ / A- if it weren't for the different themes on the CD.
If you liked Versus The Mirror - Home, you'll like this CD too.