Victoria Love - Yours For The Taking (song review) |Elle Indie Records, Ataraxis, 2014| 5/5 rock electronic
Victoria Love is undoubtedly 100% certified Texan, not only thanks to the singer/song writer Monique Jamail's rebellious looks, but most importantly her half raspy, half sad voice.
"Yours for the Taking" is characterized by a mix of both organic-symphonic and industrial sounds. The former represented by the cello, viola or oud, while the latter introduces programming and samplers. The song begins with a cello but then an industrial set creates a surprising, yet matching contrast to the opening arrangement. The two continue crossing each other throughout the entire song with a viola, bass and guitars joining them next. The bass is quite dominating - not only giving the song a rhythm but also a dark tone. The composition is well thought out and written, leaving a balanced space for both instrumental and lyrical parts.
As mentioned, Monique's raspy voice is very memorable thanks to its interesting timbre. The vocals sound sweet yet aggressive at times. It's seems like she could sing you a whole story a capella, and you'd still be affected by the impact of underlying emotion. The open, easily understandable lyrics complete the music extremely well: "I spent most of my life afraid of myself / My thoughts, my actions, my temper, my hell / Behind my door hides every emotion I’ve ever felt / I never really talk yet have so many stories to tell".
Apart from Monique Jamail (acoustic guitar, vocals), "Yours For The Taking" features guest musicians such as Ivan de Prume (drums; ex-White Zombie), Marc 'Frap' Frappier (bass; ex-Circus Of Power, ex-Skrew), Roberto Paolo Riggio (Atash; violins, oud), James 'Roz' Rosnack (drums, programming, electric guitar, synths) and Jen Mulhern on cello.
In addition, the song is supported by a high quality video single. It tells the story of a sensual relationship between two adult women and the revenge taken after the discovery of a third party joining a seemingly committed union. All the transforming feelings and behaviors relating betrayal are portrayed in vivid imagery - tears, questioning, depression, sorrow, anger, blame and despair. Apparently, there's some karma to be worked out and lessons to be learnt for one's spiritual development. The bitter find leads Victoria deeper into inner self analysis, and consequently the discovery of issues such as holding things back and unbalancing the proportions of giving and receiving. Nevertheless, the video reveals a quick fix for the unexpected problem, which results in a murder driven by wounded feelings, just like in a psychological thriller or drama. Monique, who plays the role of the betrayed woman seems to be a good actress, with very expressive eyes.
Finally, it should be noted that a different version of "Yours For The Taking" was released on Monique’s Just Breathe EP in 2011. The new master version reviewed here and present on Ataraxis, features Ivan de Prume on drums. Also, according to Victoria Love, the drums are produced better this time. The third, acoustic version was published by Victoria Love's own Elle Indie Records label. This track is also featured in the movie White Rabbit and a few compilations. The pre-sale of Ataraxis will begin in the Fall of 2014 and the album will be out this winter.
Victoria Love actively discovers and supports women in music by releasing compilations and organising a music festival. Make sure you'll visit her official website and support this artist by buying her music as well.
Below The Sun - Katharsiss (song review) |self-released, single, 2014| 4/5 stoner rock
Below The sun is a Norwegian stoner rock/hard rock band which is quite fresh on the scene, since it was founded only in 2011. Not many groups feature six musicians in the line-up however it proves to be a boon for Below The Sun, especially thanks to the members' skills.
First of all, their newest single "Katharsiss" is supposed to be released on the band's future EP but it's already available on major music on-line stores. When it comes to genre classification, it's stoner rock with elements of hard rock (string instruments) and psychedelia (keyboards). Make sure you listen to the entire track since it begins with an innocent nostalgic piano and that doesn't truly express the core sound of the composition once it reaches its peak point.
The track is bouncy and rhythmic thanks to solid heavy guitar-driven arrangements performed by René Gunnerud Vandli (vocals, guitar), Herman Tveitan Djupvik (bass) and Martin Miguel Busvold (lead guitar). However, the major sonic impact lies in the singer's voice. It's raspy, disdainful, memorable - he also screams like a pro. Jostein Vikan offers everything what a rock or metal band needs! The additional vocals in choruses are provided by René.
The catchiness of the track relies on various repetitions. Drum patterns are written very well and played skillfully by Vladimir Diaz Nelidov. Keyboard passages performed by Jonas Folvik Aune bring contrast through lighter, but not softer motifs - they cut through guitar-bass-drums dialogue in really well chosen spots. The final result is a vibrant composition that easily may make the listener hit the 'play' button again upon reaching the end.
What else does this song need? A matching music video single could do well, since many listeners discover music not only thanks to streaming audio content but also through visuals. Other than that, minor improvements in terms of production could add additional depth to the track. Below The Sun's strengths are undoubtedly rooted in writing arrangements, composing, performance and of course Jostein's recognizable voice. Their music is inspired by bands such as Fu Manchu, High on Fire, Deep Purple, Queens of the Stone Age or Mastodon amongst all. Keep an ear out for those guys, peculiarly if you enjoy hard rock tunes.