Ivoryline – Vessels
Release Date: July 27, 2010
Record Label: Tooth & Nail
You know the type. Bands that employ soaring vocals, huge guitar riffs, and the right balance between aggression and melody seem to also pique our interest. And when it's done right? We go absolutely bonkers. Everyone is quite aware of the site's obsession with Anberlin, Acceptance, etc., so it should come as no surprise that people are falling head over heels for Ivoryline. Their 2008 Tooth & Nail debut, There Came A Lion, gave us a glimpse into the band's potential. Nearly two and a half years later, and Ivoryline's latest offering, Vessels, is sure to shoot up many fan's 'Favorite' lists on last.fm.
While the thirteen track Vessels isn't extremely different than There Came A Lion, you can definitely hear the improvement and refinement in the group's songwriting. The production on this disc was handled by Aaron Sprinkle (who produced Lion as well), so it should come as no surprise that the production here is excellent. He lets Jeremy Gray's voice sound as powerful as ever without having it drown out the music. In fact, the intensity first heard on Lion is taken to the next level here. Throw in some tracks that show the band at their most ethereal for good measure, and what you'll have is the Tyler, Texas, quartet delivering on the promise shown from their debut.
In what can only be described as a dream come true for ears everywhere, former Acceptance vocalist Jason Vena joins Gray on the album's invigorating opener, “The Healing.” As the guitar riffs come out a-blazing (courtesy of Dusty Kittle), Gray and Vena join forces to create a vocal harmony very few bands will match. The band can also write some killer melodies, as tracks like “With The Daylight” and “Hearts Open” are the type of catchy rock songs you want to hear on the radio.
But the majority of “Vessels” feature anthemic and aggressive songs. Gray's voice fires away over pummeling guitar chords from Kittle (“Walking Dead”), while bassist Robert Woodward and drummer Wes Hart set the tone on “Search Me Out” and “No One Else.” Truly, the in-your-face, fist-pumping rocker is Ivoryline's bread and butter (the title track and “The Greatest Love”), but a few tracks here prove that the band is capable of much more. The beautiful “Made From Dust” sounds like it was risen from the ashes of Copeland, as the celestial verses take Gray's falsetto and forge forward to the collision of crashing cymbals and and rising riffs.
In the end, Vessels is a definite step up for the band, as they've beefed up and refined their musicianship and expanded their boundaries. Sure, some of the same things that plague the last record are present (songs get stagnant/blend, lyrics are weak at times), but it occurs less frequently. Vessels is a very good record, while the next record Ivoryline unleashes could potentially be great. But the sincere, ferocious, and revealing nature of Vessels will keep fans occupied until then.
nice review. i'd give a higher score for creativity though. in my oppinion they have really good ideas compared to many other bands in their genre. kind of have a unique sound. the production is sweet. will get this soon.
Their progression is similar to that of anberlin (though I think that blueprints was a weaker debut than TCAL) anberlin's second album was very good while the 3rd was great. I expect a lot out of this band in the future.