Album: Black Teeth
Genre: Melodic Hardcore
Originality can be tough to pin down, especially when artists tend to take in ideas from what’s around them, including what’s popular at the time. Some bands are more successful at keeping their influences at bay in comparison to others. So here comes Vessels, a melodic hardcore quintet that hails from our nation’s pacific northwest.
I really like Every Time I Die. I really do. You might ask why I’d mention that towards the beginning of this review. Let alone, why I would mention it at all in a review of a band that is not Every Time I Die. Well the matter is that when I listen to Vessels, I can’t help but think of Every Time I Die, and I don’t mean that in a good way at all.
Moving onto the actual music itself, Black Teeth starts full-throttle with it’s hyper-repetitive opening track, “Capital City”. It starts off fine, but it feels like the listening experience just goes downhill once it sounds like segments have been placed literally one after the other in a copy/paste method rather than recorded all in one take like most bands would do. There’s not even a smooth transition to make it feel more natural, it just awkwardly chunks from one part into another as if the song’s starting all over again.
I will admit that the main factor that redeems the record from being more than a generic hardcore head-bobber is the lyrics. Arguably, that’s the thing makes hardcore music so hardcore. Pessimistic, optimistic, or realistic: it’s never mattered all too much, as long as it’s something that meaningful, genuine, and original. I’ll hand it to the instrumental part of the band for being consistent, solid and clean with their musicianship. The tone may seem dry and stale at times, but nothing sounds sloppy by any means whatsoever.
Disappointingly, the final track happens to be the best one on Black Teeth. “Atlas” starts off with quiet clean guitar leads and swells, and then it builds up into a full-blown rage-fest of a closer for the album, clean vocals and all. If the band followed the same direction of this with their entire next release, the band might actually get somewhere. Those who appreciate hardcore solely at it’s face value might find something here. But to those who are looking for more should pay no attention here.
Written by Adrian Garza (Twitter)