Left To Vanish
Versus The Throne
posted on 8/2008 By:
Tell me that the Left To Vanish Myspace page doesn't look sooooo bubblegum, and I'll ask you just how excited you are about the season premier of the new 90210. The page in question? The one bathed in fluorescents. From the pink trim, to the album cover art overflowing with colorfully shocking googly-eyed cartoon characters (impressive album art by the talented Benjamin Lande). It's the page with the band pic that looks like five Philly kid versions of Speed Racer, or the cast of an after school special (except that they're all a few inches away from a toilet, that probably should've clued me in). I expected alot of whining and a faint whiff of hair product/baby powder on Versus The Throne. I had them pegged for a cranky and spiteful Jonas Brothers. But press play and it's bye bye boy band, hello breakdowns and anger. A plethora of anger. Lots of breakdowns. In fact, I'll go as far as to say that Left To Vanish showcases the breakdown as a viable artform. I didn't think it was possible either.
The breakdown is, in laymen's terms, a safe place where the song can breathe. Unfortunately, for those of us who have come to know, love, and recognize this method as an important songwriting tactic, it has been fair game as of lately. Overused. Dumbed down and stretched out over entire albums. L2V's Versus... may just be that exact kind of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" mentality that strengthens a stagnant genre, but it's their "join 'em, and then show 'em how it's done" approach that leaves footprints. There are eleven songs here, and I'm not gonna lie and tell you that it's easy listening. If your ears can't afford the likes of the countless other harmonic-squealing/arpeggio-abusing breakdown artists (e.g. The Acacia Strain, Hostility, The Classic Struggle, etc.) then you'll have no business here. I happen to enjoy all of the above, so naturally I enjoy L2V's creative and subtle addition. It's usually the subtle nuances of a delay pedal, or a keen sense of melody subtly thrown in, that turn their firmly average staccato riffing into a slight addiction. Case in point: the first several seconds into "Eyeless In Gaza" (so simple, so effective), 1:36 into "Lufthansa Heist" (personal favorite), 1:43 into "Northern Lights" (always love it when these young guns remember that there's a major scale for the taking), etc. There's more in store. With sporadic blasting ("Dirt Merchant") and a slightly Deftonesian instrumental ("White Wolf And Nash"), perhaps more than you bargained for. Go and find out. And as a plus for the Lamb Of God aficionado, back it up to "Eyeless In Gaza" for their unintentional homage to the New American Gospel era (just a little something I noticed along the way). Come to think of it, Versus... as a whole is not that far a cry from the LOG of old. Perhaps it's the underwhelming production (raw, but flattering) and the talent lying beneath the surface (character flaws, but character none the less) found here that are very slightly reminiscent of that superpower when they were young and dumb. And you know what that means...
It means that Left To Vanish should consider a name change. It's a joke just waiting to be made at their expense, and one that I won't make outright. It's highly unlikely that they will ever see major record labels running in the droves toward their camp. Lifeforce Records will make a fine home, even if it's the one that they die in. I wish them no ill will though. I hope that they do not become their name. I only wish them the expansion on these selling points that'll bring their scores up the next time around.
Left To Vanish, have the Right To Remain......violent (it was funnier inside my head).
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