posted on 10/2008 By:
This just isn't that good.......
.......by Haunted standards. By any other name, it's a solid output. But "solid output" here and now translates to "waste removal". And it breaks my heart to write that. I'm obsessive compulsive about their debut and I'm a huge rEVOLVEr fan; obviously a Peter Dolving fan. Not so much a fan of The Haunted Made Me Do It or One Kill Wonder, mostly because I'm not a fan of Marco Aro's deadpan delivery. I've chosen Mr. Dolving's attitude problem because it makes for a good hook every now and again. And what sometimes sounds like substance abuse also makes for good mystique. That's why I flirt with The Dead Eye, but never get into bed with it, because their debut was masochistic in a way that makes it hard for me to sleep with anything else.
Seeing as how tensions have been escalating in our relationship since 2004, I wanted Versus to loosely wrap me up in razor-barbed wire and then pull the ends tightly. But sadly, the surgical skills of one of the most furious guitar-affairs in Swede-thrash history, the Bjorler/Jensen connection, seems to be on a diet plan. When they sneak in some high-calorie content, you end up with songs like "Little Cage" and "Crusher", which are knives......at a pillow fight. They are fast, yes. They technically qualify as Haunted thrash, but it is no secret that the soul of Versus keeps a faded and worn memoir of rEVOLVEr in its back pocket. When these songs are not trying dearly to bridge the gap, they sink too comfortably into the time-worn boozy, bloozy, and lazy way out ("Pieces", "Ceremony", "Rivers Run"). The only thing dragging me through these eleven songs is Dolving's delivery.
I enjoy his struggle with inner demons, and his Jekyll and Hyde complex. From head held up high, eyes to the sky, and throwing fists in the air; an outward cry for clarity; a call to all. To his head in his hands, one cigarette after another; inebriated introvert; a table for one. It's that last stance of his multiple personality traits that makes for what is probably the best song on here, "Skuld" (a Swedish word with roots in Scandinavian mythology). Not being able to drag the meaning out of this lyrically (lyrics combine English and Swedish), I can tell you that musically, it is Dead Eye experimentation on a whole other level, down, even further. Brighter. Darker. Beyond "metal", it is sparse, slight, and soaring (would "Tom Waits sitting across a table from Ry Cooder in the middle of nowhere" make any sense at all to any of you?). I'm quickly finding that words do it no justice (as you can tell from my random streams of consciousness), while discovering its value in being Versus' saving grace. I just wish that the surrounding identity-less ten could have made these kinds of impressions. We would have had a centrifugal force on our hands.
Bad foreground music can sometimes become good background music. Versus is that.
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