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RVNT - Vulnerable

by Andrew "That Metal Fan" Tanner at 26 April 2015, 9:29 PM

Every now and again, life is going to throw a basket of lemons and expect you to make orange juice. (Yes, I realize the saying is lemonade, but I never saw the challenge in that.) From a journalistic point of view, this can mean a number of different things, mainly being expected to write an unbiased review when the material is less than accommodating. In this particular instance, I'm faced with my least favorite sub-genre Popcore, and one of its newer acts, RVNT (pronounced Revenant.) The band’s debut album, "Vulnerable", is out on We Are Triumphant Records, and let's just say we skipped the OJ and went straight to making whiskey, on this one.

Right out of the gate with the lead off song "Proving grounds", you get a massive overload of deep heavy bass that continues for the remainder of the album. Bassist, Matt Madariaga and drummer Jose Rodriguez-Quiles, have an amazing compatibility, both in timing and in tone, on their respective lower ends. When you pair this with "Vulnarable"'s stellar pre and post production, it's absolutely magical sounding.

Now, had the lower end been left to just those two cats, this album would have faired a much better chance of staying on my good side, but alas, it was not to be, and then again this would be lemonade and not orange juice or whiskey. Cole Sweeney and Ryan Potter are responsible for guitar duties and I don't think they could have down tuned any lower for this album, which already boasted a mean low end. I get the Djent end of the metal spectrum and I respect it enough to leave it alone, but I will never understand it, nor will I enjoy bands putting all of their eggs into the metaphorical open string basket. Unfortunately for me, "Vulnerable" commits hard to this sound making it nearly impossible for me to sink my teeth into. The lack of real substance on the strings and constant open notes create a bleak environment where build-ups chase breakdowns in a never ending loop for seven straight songs. If what I just described to you sounds like your thing, stop reading now and just go buy the album.

Vocally, Ricky Gillis leaves me speechless. Whether that is a good or bad thing, is completely up to debate. For one thing, the guy’s vocal range is incredible. His low, while I do get a heavy Pro Tools feel from them, have a great tone, and his mid level screams give off a hint of Chester Bennington influence. Every scream is well timed, clear, and musically sound. It's his clean singing that turns me off. Before you jump down my throat about being an elitist or something, I like singing; I just prefer it to make sense when it accompanies a particular song. "Vulnerable" vocally gives everyone a taste of what it sounds like if New Found Glory went extreme Djent, and in doing so, comes off slightly whiney and adolescent, which for me, the album never really recovers from. It could be the heaviest album of all time and, at least in my mind, it could never escape that pre-teen angst image it has cast upon itself.

For a fan of Djent or Popcore or whatever the kids are calling it these days, this is an ok album with amazing high quality studio work. For the rest of the world, turn around, forget everything you just read here and walk away. At least you got some free orange juice right?

3 Star Rating

1. Proving Ground
2. Vain
3. Disconnected
4. Leech
5. More Than Words
6. Circles
7. Buried Alive
Ricky Gillis - Vocals
Cole Sweeney - Guitar
Matt Madariaga - Bass
Ryan Potter - Guitar
Jose Rodriguez-Quiles - Drums
Record Label: We Are Triumphant


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