Another first for me here at SoT, the opportunity to do a review of not one, but two bands contained within one full length CD release. Spiritu, who hails from New Mexico, along with Village Of Dead Roads, who are from Erie, PA, got together to create a new CD, entitled Human Failures. In this day and age of occasional tough economic times, mixed in with the difficulty of breaking into the music industry nowadays due to what I consider top recording companies keeping progressive rock and metal underground where it rightfully does not belong, I can certainly understand the need or desire for multiple bands to pool together resources to either tour together, or even release a single CD together.
Since the first four tracks of the CD consist of songs by Spiritu, I will talk about them first. I must confess that of the two bands, Spiritu falls more in line with my personal musical tastes. After doing some web searches, I was unable to find too much information about Spiritu other than the fact that they fall under the genre of "stoner rock", and they consist of vocalist Jadd, guitarist Chav, bassist John, and drummer Kenny. What I do know is that Spiritu possesses some of the qualities of dark metal innovators Black Sabbath, and of some of the better 90's grunge rock bands, such as Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, and Stone Temple Pilots. While you are not going to hear too many lightning fast guitar solos, you still get some very crunching rhythm guitars (no doubt using some drop tuning), and a very capable lead vocalist in Jadd, who's voice and occasional vocal harmonies help make the songs more enjoyable. Jadd's vocal style and tone would be best compared to the late, great Layne Staley of Alice In Chains. Spiritu's highlight for me is the 2nd track, "Object of Desire", where guitarist Chav displays his best work. If I were to give any constructive criticism, it would be to the fact that I did not really care for a couple of the space fillers that Spiritu used at the end of track 1 (one minute of marching feet, or a skipping 33 record, if you will) and at the end of track 3 (about 3 minutes of synthesized guitar feedback, and what appears to be some guitar work played backwards). I would advise Spiritu to use their recording time a bit more wisely, as the talent is obviously there. Otherwise, a pretty good offering from the New Mexico "stoners". 3 ½ stars
Next up are 4 tracks from Village Of Dead Roads, which consist of Doug Corey on vocals and guitar, Eric Abt on guitar; Josh Makowski on bass; and Chris Williams on the drums. VODR's music consists of a very dark and heavy brand of hardcore metal. One thing that I did like about Doug Corey's vocal style is his ability to switch from the more hardcore metal style to a more mainstream grunge style. Like Spiritu, VODR's guitar work consists of a very low, down tuned crunching sound, with their slow tempo similar to Black Sabbath at their darkest. VODR's highlight tracks for me are their 2 middle tracks, "Skin Prison" and "Woman of Ill Repute". As for their critique, I think they could use a little more diversity in their songs and their tempo, as they showed slightly in "Skin Prison". However, if you are into a more gloom and doom style of hardcore metal, VODR might be the band for you. 3 stars
Overall, I would give the CD as a whole 3 stars, as I believe the production and sound could use a little improvement. There were a few times where the vocals seemed to be mixed a little too low for both bands, but I do believe that both groups are quite capable of a better score and success once they each come up with their own full releases in the future.
1. The Ten of Seven Bell
2. Objects of Desire
Village of Dead Roads
1. Descendants of The Dendrites
2. Skin Prison
3. Woman of Ill Repute
4. Divine Mistake