Jun 2012 25

V is for Villains - Evolve or DieV is for Villains
Category: Industrial Rock
Album: Evolve or Die
Stars: 4
Blurb: An exceptionally well crafted brand of industrial rock with a theatrical and progressive edge makes this Chicago band one worth watching out for.


After the dissolution of Digital Mindy, Nicholas and Jonathon Santiago set out to take their industrial rock predilections even farther with a new project. Joined by keyboardist and backup vocalist Carrie Hegenderfer and drummer Richard Nash IV, V is for Villains presents a refined sense of audio/visual production, offering a sensory experience that is meant to be seen as much as heard. Combining comic book inspired aesthetics reminiscent of Alan Moore’s Watchmen – even going so far as to adopt pseudonyms – with a steampunk influenced sense of style and fashion, and driven by a hard-hitting pulse of gritty electronics and scathing beats and guitars, the debut album Evolve or Die lives up to its title as a full on assault of forward thinking industrial rock.

A slow progression of marching beats and fluid synth bass enters, topped off by a pummeling attack of live drums and guitars, and “Just a Sinner” begins Evolve or Die on an appropriately high note. The interplay between Mr. Agitator and Veronica Jade on the vocals makes for a lush and darkly melodic complement that adds a sense of almost operatic grandeur to carry the song. Throughout the album, themes of social alienation and embracing the outsider abound, staying true to the band’s name. Songs like “Everybody Hates Me” and “Playing the Villain” feature aggressively upbeat rhythms and excellently balanced arrangements of dissonance and melody, Fallon Flynn’s guitars providing an equal amount of atmosphere and anger, while The Pulse’s percussive assaults are as precise as the machines he accompanies without losing the human touch. “All About the Flesh” features a jazzy cabaret vibe to the cadence, but given that grinding industrialized treatment that keeps it edgy, and “Evolve or Die” moves at a malevolent pace with unpredictable arrangements that flow quite effortlessly. Interestingly enough, the songs on Evolve or Die are rather concise, with only “Broken Doll” and “The Disease” barely falling shy of the four minute mark, yet they are so filled with a fluidic sense of harmonic movement that they come across as composed as any symphony without losing the acerbic industrial rock attitude.

If anything negative can be said about V is for Villains, it is quite simply that Mr. Agitator’s voice is rather unorthodox for the genre. There is a distinctly impressive range to his tenor, successfully hitting high points throughout Evolve or Die that would be more befitting an alt. rock or power metal band, which may be off-putting to the standard rivethead listener. However, once again, the interplay between him and Veronica Jade is quite extraordinary, their voices complementing each other in a manner most melodic. From the progressive arrangements to the intelligent songwriting to the sheen of the production, V is for Villains has clearly placed a lot of time and effort into Evolve or Die, crafting a brand of industrial rock that is as theatrical as it is straightforward.
Track list:

  1. Just Another Sinner
  2. Everybody Hates Me
  3. Rise Above
  4. Broken Doll
  5. A Strange Place
  6. Playing the Villain
  7. All About the Flesh
  8. The Black Swan Love Song
  9. Evolve or Die
  10. A World Without Rules
  11. The Disease
  12. March of the Villains

V is for Villains Website http://www.visforvillains.com
V is for Villains MySpace http://www.myspace.com/visforvillains
V is for Villains Facebook http://www.facebook.com/VIsForVillains
V is for Villains Twitter http://twitter.com/visforvillains
V is for Villains ReverbNation http://www.reverbnation.com/visforvillains
Industrial Music Works Website http://www.industrialmusicworks.com
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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