Thursday, October 17, 2002

Album of the week - Viva Death

Apparently this is a side project from two of the guys from Face to Face (Trever Keith and Scott Shifflet) one from Foo Fighters (Scott's Bro Chris Shiflett) and others. I dig a lot of FF music, but I've never been big on SoCal punk and what little I've heard of Face to Face has never turned me on, so the fact that they put an album together is I think rather impressive.

All the reviews I've seen have mentioned goth, punk, Jawbox, NIN, Sisters of Mercy, a dry martini or a frothy pint of stout or a super-stiff whiskey and Coke, but for some reason nobody has pegged them for the obvious musical influence. These guys sound so much like Girls Against Boys, House of GVSB era it's ridiculous. Now granted they have some other influences; you can hear way more goth and punk influence than GVSB has. But the sultry/sexy/sleazy/ hoarse sounding vocal approach from VD's frontman sounds like he's apeing Eli Janey, the three baritone guitars (GVSB used two basses), the cock rock riffs all sound a lot like House of GVSB. Hell, the drummer sounds like a dead ringer for Alex Fleiseg (that's a good thing). The political content of the lyrics might be the only big difference between GVSB and Viva Death.

Normally I might rip into a band for doing this kinda thing, were it not for two things - (a) Girls Against Boys don't really sound like this anymore, meaning they don't write music that sounds like this, and (b)Viva Death does a phenominal job of sounding like them. I can't stop listening to this in my car. This might be one of the best things to come thru the station, start to finish.

You can totally hear the catchy punk roots on Trust Me . The song Safety is our Primary Concern is also a fave; it's starts with two blue based riffs, both going in opposite directions, till it turns around in the chorus which continues to stay stuck in my head. There something distictly creepy about the chorus to Desire Us a Flood. Granted there a couple of weak moments, but even they have reedeming qualities. I wasn't that into Rigor Mortis Shake the first time I heard it, sounding like some 50's blues song filtered thru some 80's goth act. But after hearing the guitar harmony in the turnaround it makes it worth listening to.

As if the band didn't sound enough like GVSB, they stuck a sax solo on the end of Blood and Oranges, which sounds a lot like something New Wet Kojak has done, NWK being a side project for two members of GVSB.

Viva Death was originally supposed to be released back in October 2001. The album (originally titled "Terrorism For Fun And Profit") was postponed since 9/11 totally changed the context, and they re-titled the album and released it in September. There is no bass, but there are three baritone guitars gives them a unique sound.

Their webpage is still under contruction, but you can see what they have done so far. It's not all that much mind you, but you can download the first track off the album, Fundamentalist from here.

Or better yet go to the Vagrant Records homepage, where you can download Fundamentalist and Blood and Oranges, another really great tune of this album.

Here's a review on

And another on Delusions of Adequacy.

Yet another site with a mention of Viva Death.

In doing research for this post I must have come across more than a dozen mentions in Japanese, so I guess they must be big there, or something.


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