Jun 2011 20

Cover Image
World Versus Me
Category: Electronic Rock
Album: Duel
Stars: 2.5
Blurb: World Versus Me’s latest EP Duel features considerable promise but feels tailor made for radio and television.

 

Formed in 2005 in Los Angeles, World Versus Me is the solo project of musician David Alvarez. Originally utilizing the name Shaolin Temple of Boom, Alvarez recently made the switch to the new name with his fourth independent release, Duel.

An EP of only six tracks, Duel is an impressive concoction of eclectic styles and evinces a maturity in its presentation that is all too frequently lacking in the darker music world. Launching the collection is the hard-hitting power rock anthem “Passenger.” While lyrically despondent, the music in this cut is particularly sanguine and goes way over the top. Starting with a cheery keyboard line and some muted guitar, “Passenger” quickly shows its true colors as a rather conventional rock song. While the song does break the mold a little with an awkwardly placed synth solo toward the middle, the track ultimately is not so different from what you might find on a 3 Doors Down or Nickelback record.

Duel delves deeper into a faster, edgier attitude with the song “Into Nothing.” This piece combines the electronic and organic instruments with more finesse and is a fitting enhancement of the mood and style of the first song. Duel quickly loses steam as it plows into the standstill of “Mansions of Thought.” Instrumental and entirely electronic, “Mansions of Thought” is the most unique song on the EP, combining industrial noise and symphonic elements to craft a track that’s a decisive example of the TV and soundtrack licensing that World Versus Me has recently garnered. One can only wish that Alvarez had taken advantage of this approach more often on Duel. The EP’s title track begins with a frighteningly cheesy keyboard line, but the track soon finds its groove, and at times feels like it comes straight off a Nine Inch Nails record. There is also a nice transition in Alvarez’s singing from whispering to shouting with the best of them. Duel wraps up with the lengthy and largely acoustic “Transference,” an emotive ballad of nearly swollen proportions.

Duel illustrates a number of Alvarez’s talents. Clearly, he has arresting control with his voice and his production and recording skills point to a burgeoning professional. His promo clip for the song “Transference” was also filmed and directed by him and shows his aptitude for visual presentation. The variety of sounds, tempos, and vocal styles he displays in the space of these six songs are also evidence of his desire not to become pigeonholed or typecast. On the other end, Duel reeks of commercialism and sounds too forced and familiar to be moving in any genuine emotional way. There is an immoderate amount of generic structure to the composition of many of these songs, and it’s often difficult to believe that Alvarez really feels one way or the other about the stories he’s sharing with us.
 
Track list:

  1. Passenger
  2. Into Nothing
  3. Mansions of Thought
  4. Duel
  5. Evil
  6. Transference

 
World Versus Me Website http://www.worldversusme.com
World Versus Me MySpace http://www.myspace.com/shaolintempleofboom
World Versus Me Facebook http://www.facebook.com/WorldVersusMe
World Versus Me Twitter http://twitter.com/worldversusme
World Versus Me ReverbNation http://www.reverbnation.com/worldversusme
World Versus Me BandCamp http://worldversusme.bandcamp.com
 
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
 
2010-06-24
 
Brian Backlash (BrianBacklash)

15 Comments

  1. Kate Lush says:

    It’s obvious the reviewer has a deep seated hatred and prejudice, not of the music but of the man himself, it’s almost jealousy imho. The “Nickelback” and “3 Doors down” references are unbelievably funny, there is no way anyone can say World Versus Me sounds remotely like those bands. The “cheesy” synth part is also a sign of a personal dislike of the man as 99 percent of the music this site reviews contains “cheesy” synths. Love or hate World Versus Me, it’s obvious he will be a huge force in music in the coming years, from the previews I have heard of his new music, I think nothing can stop him now. The fact he is getting in soundtracks for being, in my opinion a very non mainstream artist is pretty amazing and something that most indie musicians should applaud (as I bet most want it but can’t get it.) Anyway this review says more about the reviewer than it does about the music he or she is reviewing. I absolutely love this song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1je0yn7Tc4 and so do a growing number of people with taste.

  2. Mike says:

    This is probably one of the lamest reviews I’ve read of a pretty good album by a promising artist. This album isn’t great, it’s definitely not bad or mediocre, it shows a lot of promise. This review makes no sense and actually contradicts itself on a couple of occasions. I love this band and am excited at what’s next.

  3. Tasha says:

    Bullshit review, the reviewer is an idiot. WVM is a very good artist, looking forward to the future. The reviewer needs to give up reviewing and stick to his day job at 7-11

  4. Satinabox says:

    I completely agree with the review, Nickleback with synths and vocals as if they are from dissociative by Marilyn Manson.

    This may be the sound you enjoy(It’s obviously not mine) but either way is there a need to be so rude to the person who reviewed the album?

    SOX

  5. Tasha says:

    @Satinabox, good to know the reviewers mom is here to defend him. Hope your son moves out of your basement soon! LMAO at Nickelback with synths, that it is the funniest I have heard yet.

  6. tasha says:

    All bickering aside, I found this review at Skopemag.com for “Duel.” That site reviews more established artists than this magazine does but also has a wider spectrum of sounds and genres it reviews. Basically they say World Versus Me sounds similar to Frontline Assembly and bands like that. To say WVM sounds anything like Nickleback is ludicrous. Personally, I don’t think WVM sounds like anything I have heard before, in fact I think this is why there are such huge differences in opinion as to what Alvarez sounds like. On the one hand you have a magazine like Skopemag, which probably deals more with major and indie alternative bands, saying WVM sounds industrial and on the other hand you have Regen saying they sound like Nickleback. These are 2 totally different views, completely the opposite which tells me that World Versus Me is something that sounds very unique. If you ask me I hear a lot of Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Pink Floyd and 30 Seconds to Mars influences, I don’t hear Nickleback nor even Frontline Assembly at all.

  7. Ilker says:

    Honestly, all of you… enough with the rudeness! If you don’t agree with the ReView, that’s fine. Nobody said you had to, nor that you had to read it or even care. If you disagree with the ReView and want to discuss it, that’s fine. If you want to ignore it, that’s fine. But if you’re just going to use an opposing viewpoint as a reason to disrespect and insult ReGen, the writer, and/or anybody that agrees with it, then get the hell off the internet – there’s enough badmouthing, trash-talking, and lack of civil human discourse as it is!

    ReGen covers music from specific genres… just because they’re not mainstream or on the radio or on the Billboard Charts or occasionally mentioned on MTV or whatever other “major” or “alternative” outlet that exists does not make them less relevant or worthy of notice.
    Brian’s ReView covered positive points of the record and negative points. The man has an opinion, he presented it, end of story.

  8. tasha says:

    Ilker, I don’t think anyone really trashed the reviewer. It does seem as though the reviewer is trashing the artist though, there is no way anyone can think of Nickleback when listening to World Versus Me, not in sound, not in writing approach, not in any way shape or form. I’ve been following the band for some time and have seen WVM rise from nowhere to getting some attention from different factions of pop culture this year which is a good thing. I also don’t think WVM has a generic bone in his body as the music is rather unique, the fact that different magazines compare World Versus Me’s music to completely different bands, for example, I just found another review in a magazine called Alternative Revolt Magazine that gave this album 9 out of 10 and compared World Versus Me to 30 Seconds to Mars. I think that the fact that all these different magazines compare WVM to completely different sounds says a lot about the unique nature of the music. These days everyone sounds like everyone else, there are tons of Nine Inch Nails ripoff artists and bands that don’t have their own voice, just basically parroting and mimicking as opposed to creating something unique, for me it’s pretty refreshing to hear an artist like WVM that doesn’t copy anyone but actually has his own sound. My favorite track on the album is “Evil” and that wasn’t even mentioned in the review, now there is a great example of unique songwriting, for me that song is pure genius. I agree though enough of the fighting, there are differing opinions, of course some people aren’t going to like it and others are but at the very least be accurate when making comparisons and don’t use bands that have nothing to do with WVM.

  9. Ilker says:

    Kate Lush: “It’s obvious the reviewer has a deep seated hatred and prejudice…”
    Mike: “This review makes no sense and actually contradicts itself on a couple of occasions.”
    Tasha: “Bullshit review, the reviewer is an idiot…”
    Tasha: “…good to know the reviewers mom is here to defend him…”

    First of all, don’t tell me you don’t think anyone trashed the ReViewer. Clearly, you didn’t read the other comments (funny… two of them came from… you). Sure, Mike’s comment trashes the ReView, not the ReViewer, but he says that it contradicts itself… honestly, it doesn’t, which leads to…
    Second of all, Brian didn’t trash World Versus Me. He presented an opinion – included positive and negative points as he heard them. You can say that nobody can think of Nickelback when listening to World Versus Me, but Brian did… and quite frankly, while I wouldn’t have chosen Nickelback as my point of comparison, I can tell what he’s talking about. As I explained to David in my unnecessarily lengthy correspondence with him, there is a certain generic quality to his chord progressions and melodies. Cop it up to taste, but I could personally tell where the songs were going, where the change ups were going to occur. That may be insulting to the artist and those who like him, but Brian is perfectly within his rights to not like the album and to point out those elements that he sees as flawed. That’s the job of a critic.
    By ReGen standards, 2.5 out of 5 stars is not a percentage… it’s right down the middle. It’s neither good, nor bad. It is what it is… Brian compliments David’s production and vocal ability, but his songs failed to make an impact on Brian. Maybe that’s not true of everyone else, but oh well. He presented an opinion, and people can either disagree and discuss intelligently, or they can act like high schoolers with nothing better to do and keep talking shit.

    Tasha, that is all well and good if you think he’s unique. The bottom line is that nobody ever said that ALL reviews need be bursting with praise. The truth of the matter is that Brian didn’t like the album. He found certain qualities in David’s music not to his liking, and what the hell is wrong with that? So you may disagree with him. That’s your right, just as it is his right to disagree with you. We don’t claim to be authorities – we are simply here to provide the most insightful critique that we can. You can take it or you can leave it. It’s disheartening to me that David and his fans are unwilling to leave it simply because of bruised ego.
    I personally don’t find much at all to be unique with David’s music, but that’s just me. I listen to a wide range of music (not just the genres that ReGen covers – I listen to a great deal of jazz, blues, progressive rock, world music, and classical as well). That’s just my opinion. It’s not a matter of right and wrong; it’s a matter of personal taste. Brian also listens to a wide range of music, so he’s not completely braindead to such things – otherwise, I wouldn’t have him write for us.
    I’m not interested in what other magazines say about David or his music. After talking to him personally, I find him to be egocentric and immature. I’m sure he thinks I’m just a total fucking idiot, so whatever.
    As I said… if you don’t like it, don’t read it.

    Accuracy is subjective when making comparisons between music. I could say that I hear a lot of the Beatles and Crosby, Stills, and Nash in Type O Negative’s music. Some would say I’m completely out of my mind, while others would probably hear that. If David doesn’t want to be compared to Nickelback, then I’m sorry again that his ego got bruised, but I do hear a certain “mainstream wannabe” quality to his songwriting that really gets to the heart of what Brian was saying. It’s just that Nickelback and Three Doors Down were the bands that occurred to him when making that point. Again, if you disagree, that’s your right. Don’t like it, don’t read it. Plain and simple.

  10. tasha says:

    Of course Ilker, but the thing is I was really critiquing the critic which I have a right to do, you know it’s all opinion, of course Brian didn’t like the record and of course you didn’t like it. But when you write a review be more concise in what you are comparing an artist to, I think that is what I found to be unprofessional and I have a right to that opinion. If you are writing a review and throw out bands like 3 doors down and nickleback to compare to an artist when World Versus Me sounds absolutely nothing like them, that makes no sense, in fact it just sounds like the guy is trashing the artist. Let’s just move past that. The point I was making with Alvarez having a unique sound is in the 3 magazines I brought up (including yours) no one is in real agreement with what WVM sounds like, which usually says the artist has his own style. As much as you want to hate WVM it’s very difficult to dispute the fact that you can’t really say he sounds like any other band out there and the fact that one magazine compared him to Frontline Assembly, another said 30 Seconds to Mars and you say Nickleback, those are 3 totally different bands. All 3 of you have a right to your opinion, 1 of those magazines gave WVM a good review another one gave it a stronger review your magazine gave it frankly a bad review, but that’s all a matter of opinion and all 3 of you have a right to it as I have a right to mine, that’s what I never understood about reviewers anyway, what makes your opinion more valid than mine? Nothing. If I were to compare WVM to any band I would say it’s more like NIN/Radiohead than anything else, but that’s just my opinion, I also don’t think this music is commercial in the least, I think other bands you have reviewed are way more commerclal, including an artist I won’t mention by name that released a song recently that sounds straight out of the Back Street Boys songwriting and performance style, yet you gave it a glowing review. Well, all of this is just opinion, no one’s opinion is any more valid than the other. Best regards

    • Ilker says:

      Nobody said Brian’s or my opinion was more valid than yours or another’s. That’s not what I’m disputing by any means, and I’m glad somebody’s finally disagreeing in a manner of trying to discuss the topic intelligently instead of spouting out insults simply because of a bruised ego. Our opinion is ours, yours is yours. Disagree and discuss as you are doing now… I find it rather abhorrent that it took a whole bunch of jabs at the integrity of my writer and my magazine to get to this point, which is what it should’ve been all along.

  11. tasha says:

    I love the band but even if I didn’t I would call a spade a spade. The only bruised egos here are the ones whining about “jabs at intergrity” etc etc. Anyway the next album previews sound like it’s going to be great for WVM and can’t wait for it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTwqNUPLqco

    Most reviews I have seen on this album have been great or good, sometimes consensus rules over the one bad review, none of these reviews will change my mind as I make my own mind up on what I like. I remember Pitchfork giving “The Fragile” by NIN 2 or 3 stars out of 10 and them calling that music generic, go figure.

    I used to read this mag from time to time but this whole inability to receive “jabs” really turned me off to it.

  12. Outlaw says:

    Tasha is David Alvarez

  13. Ilker says:

    @Outlaw – Y’know, it wouldn’t surprise me. After all… we’re not the ones who started whining and moaning about one ReView that was constructively negative as opposed to blindly positive.

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