Vendetta Red - Between the Never and the Now
Record Label: Epic Records
Release Date: June 24, 2003
Vendetta Red's Between the Never and the Now, which saw the light of day on June of 2003, was actually the band's third release, though even some of their fans would swear to you it was their first. The record consists entirely of re-hashings of the band's previous work, much like Motion City Soundtrack's I am the Movie. It is largely a solid record, if not one that can be easily pegged into a certain style of the music scene.
The album opens up well, with the first four tracks flowing well together, as vocalist Zach Davidson alternates between aggressive, anthemic vocals, ear-splitting screams, and an incredibly high pitched croon. The guitars and drums chug along behind Davidson's vocal work competently, if not anything worth writing home about. The emphasis, however, is set squarely on the talented vocal cords of Mr. Davidson, as the album shows with the single, "Shatterday." The track, featuring a fist-pumping vocal track, and a full out sing-along in the final minutes, is one of the better tracks on the record.
This is a telling sign, however, as the song is not even the best version released by the band. Along with many of the other songs on this record, "Shatterday" originally was released on the 2001 album White Knuckle Substance, which largely only had an impact on the independent Seattle music scene. Unfortunately, this earlier version of the track is better than the major label release. The better production makes Davidson's vocals seem almost too sharp for the song, unlike the previous record, where he blended in much better with the accompaniment.
The next three songs on the album are largely forgettable, as "Accident Sex," "Caught You Like a Cold," and "Suicide Party" all bring nothing new to the table, serving only to show off, again, Davidson's voice, a lack of any serious instrumental ingenuity, and the band's propensity for odd song titles. Were Between the Never and the Now to continue in this manner, it would have gone on to be a dud of an album, with wasted potential in the opening tracks followed by an utter letdown on the backside of the record. However, the album picks up again with a vengeance, launching into "Lipstick Tourniquets", which turns into the hardest song on the album thus far, even going as far as to include (gasp) a guitar solo. Following the intense final thirty seconds of this track comes "Ambulance Chaser," a morbid, softer track, though it also crescendos in the end, as the record ends with the two hardest songs of the band's catalog, "Por Vida" and "P.S. Love the Black." Both of these tear through the speaker, leaving the listener out of breath. The decision to place "Ambulance Chaser" between the album's three hardest tracks was a smart choice, as its softness serves to accentuate the loudness of the three surrounding tracks. It's a strong finish to a solid record.
Overall, Vendetta Red's Between the Never and the Now is an extremely solid record, which could have been absolutely brilliant had the middle of the record contained a better segue between the solid opening and the hard ending. "Three Chord Valentine," a song released by the band on an earlier Epic EP, could have fit extremely well on the album. Instead, we are left with a record whose three strongest songs, "Shatterday," "Por Vida," and "P.S. Love the Black" all sounded better in their previous incarnations. To new fans, or those not dedicated enough to seek out the hard to find earlier releases, this is no concern, but to those who follow the band, it's somewhat of a disappointment. However, this is not enough to deter one from picking up this release. If you never heard Vendetta Red before they disbanded, do yourself a favor and go pick up this release, or the band's equally impressive, if not better, later release, Sisters of the Red Death.