Artist: One Vote for Violence
Album: Who Are You? – EP
The world is a crazy place. With every passing day there seems to be a new tragedy—and with each new tragedy, a new call for peace and tranquility as an answer. Humanity moves to take greater leaps towards obliterating violence altogether; however, sometimes, that isn’t necessarily the right move. There are situations that call for aggressive retaliation—where the only way to quell violence is a more violent answer. For those extreme and exceedingly rare situations, there is the sinister San Jose deathcore quartet, One Vote for Violence. While their name may imply a democratic and reasonable approach, their debut EP, Who Are You?, is anything but. Built on a platform of punishing, scathing deathcore with twists of technicality and crushing brutality both, Who Are You?sees One Vote for Violence storming out of the gate, leading an charge that will all but flatten the listener with a sprawling array of spine-snapping breakdowns and ruthless riffs bound to thrill any heavy music junkie.
Instrumentally, One Vote for Violence begin with a straightforward deathcore formula—borrowing from the genre’s progenitors and current leaders both—and spice it up with hints of bounce, brutality and bold technicality. Percussionist Brent Carpenter builds the foundation to make it all possible: with fun, energetic footwork that opens up the groovy introduction, “Worth Dying For” and fleet feet matched with flying fingers on “It’s Not a Power, It’s a Curse,” Carpenter lets loose with an absolutely annihilating display of percussive prowess. “I Murdered My Wife in the Spring of ‘52” is a similar display of talent—only here, he tones down his own effort to allow he furious fretwork of guitarists Nick Guevara and Aaron Cuenca to shine. While Cunenca grooves and chugs away, Guevara dominates with furiously fretted leads—often tapped and technical—that cut through Carpenter’s bright, splashy cymbals. However, after “I Murdered My Wife…” Is said and done, the trio often find themselves rehashing the same pattern, contrasting extreme speed with sludgy breakdowns and joining them with sound-a-like leads. While this doesn’t make Who Are You? less enjoyable, it does lend an element of monotony into the mix that is hard to ignore. All things being equal, however, the terrifyingly talented trio craft several full-bodied and furious songs, bringing back a bustling, brutalizing early-era deathcore atmosphere with a contemporary twist.
Where One Vote for Violence’s instrumentation is intense and intimidating, the band’s vocal effort is even more so. Taking a similar approach of awe-inspiring aggression and eliminating monotony, frontman Mikey Salazar takes a solid musical canvas and takes it up a notch. From the shrill screams and dense roars of “I Murdered My Wife…” To the sheer stamina of his barks and bellows in “Barehanded Disembowelment,” Salazar’s vocal performance is powerful and punishing, helping to distract the listener from the very similarly structured nature of each of the EP’s songs. Blending a monstrous variety of vocal styles with his remarkable energy and incredible stamina, Salazar’s effort on One Vote for Violence’s debut is more than noteworthy—it is prodigal.
Who Are You? is a strong release, but is also not without its weaknesses. The single biggest cloud hanging over the band’s head is the monotonous writing that seems to pervade each track. Without paying careful attention, grooves and riffs on “Barehanded Disembowelment” and “It’s Not a Power, It’s a Curse” sound homogenous, while also sounding eerily similar to the conclusion of “Worth Dying For.” All things considered, it isn’t a huge problem—this is the band’s debut EP after all, and it is only five tracks long. Furthermore, each track feels full and engaging, with Salazar ensuring the listener stays hooked, even if the band’s musicianship might lose their attention. One Vote for Violence are another young band pushing for the rebirth of deathcore in its original and traditional form, combining beastly blast beats and brutal, crunchy chugs with a vocal onslaught that is second to none—except with masterful and modern production. Where they are not without their pitfalls, Who Are You? is still sure to enthrall fans of extreme music.
For Fans Of: Spite, Whitechapel, Oceano, Annotations of an Autopsy, Veil of Maya
By: Connor Welsh