Written by: PP on 24/04/2007 15:30:22

I'm starting to question my abilities to categorize bands like the Massachusetts based screamo-core act Vanna. "Curses", their debut album, is a product of the integration of screamo, hardcore, emo and metalcore, as it consists of bits and pieces from all.

The record slays you down with brutal breakdowns and beatdowns with the first half of "The Vanishing Orchestra" in mind, triggering thoughts of Norma Jean and other hardcore bands immediately upon first listen. But when the melodic hooks and emotional clean vocals in "The Things He Carried" arrive, such parallels are erased temporarily, and quickly replaced with equivalence to Alexisonfire. Vocalist Preece's part growls part screams sound note by note like George's, while back up vocalist Lambert's high pitched voice follows the same range as Dallas Green, although he never quite reaches the same level of unforgettable melody in his voice as Dallas. It all contributes to the rather confusing mix of genres, as the band appears to want to be hardcore on one track, but emo on another, and screamo on a third. The general approach is that of brutalization, and hence it is not uncommon to read comments saying "Stay brutal" instead of "Stay cool" on their Myspace page.

Unfortunately for the band, they're a few years too late. This exact record was already written in 2002, and that was called "Alexisonfire". Then it was more or less re-written and revitalized late last year by Escape The Fate, not to even mention the dozens similar records that were released in between. "Curses" has its bright moments where you'll be nodding your head along or humming to the hooks, but it lacks something very important today - longevity. Not long after the initial week of listening one will begin to grow tired of the same breakdown-scream-clean vocals formula that every song consists of, unless you are 100% dedicated to this genre mish-mash thing in the first place. "Curses" is not a bad record, but nor is it a great one. It simply has a dose of screamo for those in the temporary need of it, but offers nothing for those wanting to discover something underneath the glossy surface.


Download: The Things He Carried, The Vanishing Orchestra
For the fans of: Alexisonfire, Norma Jean
Listen: Myspace

Release date 24.04.2007

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