Review: Villain of the Story – Bloodshot

Artist: Villain of the Story
Album: Bloodshot
Label: Independent
Release: 11/20/2020

1. Enough
2. Labrat
3. Bloodshot
4. Stuck
5. Burn the Foundation
6. True Obsession
7. Something to Feel
8. Breathe

No strangers to hardship MN’s Villain of the Story are back with their second, independent offering (and fourth release, overall.) Creating music, even with a label backing a band, can be a challenging feat but that has become even more challenging with the presentation of a worldwide pandemic. However, VOTS rise to the challenge and are ready to bring fans an amalgamation of all that they’ve come to love and expect from the quartet, while simultaneously throwing some curveballs along the way. While their previous album, Ashes, had its heavier moments, it was largely rooted in the active rock realm, with co-vocalist Logan Bartholomew taking a more centric role. Bloodshot, however, expands upon that, while also creating a pocket of melodic synchronicity with co-vocalist, Christian Grey, showing off more of his singing voice, as well.

The album kicks off with some keys before leading into one of the album’s first singles, “Enough.” Aptly-chosen, this song quite possibly represents just how diverse this album is. An explosive vocal delivery from Grey moves into a soaring, anthemic chorus from Bartholomew. The bridge dials back, displaying the band’s softer, more melodic side before taking flight and finishing strong. Driving guitars meet with thunderous drumming to create an atmosphere of urgency and call attention to what fans have been craving from them. The title track, “Bloodshot” is another track that follows the same type of formula.

On the other side of the spectrum, showcasing a bit more of an active rock edge, we have “Stuck.” Simultaneously released with the aforementioned “Enough,” this track falls more in the vein of other songs in their category such as “Powerless,” “Decay” and “Peace of Mind.” While the band has never been one to shy away from tougher, more sensitive subject matter, there is a certain vulnerability to the lyrics on this track that will find listeners easily connecting on a more personal level. This is one of the first tracks on the album that sees both vocalists taking a bit more of a melodic approach to their craft. Besides being an emotional, more ballad-like track, the chorus is an absolute earworm. The grit to Bartholomew’s vocals, when reciting the lyrics to the chorus has given me chills every time I’ve listened to it and the level of emotion with each breath is not to be understated.

If there is to be a new fan favorite, that resonates with fans of their older material, you need look no further than “Labrat.” While the track begins on a heavier note, the key change in the chorus is what will make for a double take. The listener will be simultaneously moshing in their living room/car and singing at the top of their lungs, with higher range vocals creating a more epic feel to the track. Moving forward from mid to high range screams, once again into a soaring chorus, creates a cinematic atmosphere. This track sees the band returning to their roots, full steam ahead. In that same vein, “Burn the Foundation,” falls into that category as one of the heaviest tracks on the album, by far.

Every VOTS release, thus far, has had “that” track. You know which one I’m referring to. The one that will tug at your heart strings, really move you emotionally and resonate with listeners in a way that none of the others do. Usually heavily rooted in melody, the band has explored this in tracks like “Peace of Mind” and “Grow.” These are tracks that deal with tougher subjects, usually have an amazing build-up into a full band section and usually produce tears. “Breathe” is that track for Bloodshot. This is a piano-driven, angelic track that takes the listener on a breathtaking, emotional roller-coaster ride. A beautiful choral section starts the track off, where it leads into the most vulnerable lyrics on the album, reminding fans that life gets hard but everyone has a purpose and there is always a silver lining. Really take the time, close your eyes and listen to this track, feel it move you.

Just when you think that VOTS can’t get any better, they find a way to top themselves and create something to be even more proud of. Fans, both old and new, will find so many things to enjoy about this album and it stands alone as their best work to date. Produced by Will Carlson (Bilmuri, Overgrow, Wait for the Day) Bloodshot arrives on November 20th and can both released singles can be streamed at the link below. If you’re into physical media/merch, you’re in luck as the band has stated that they will have both for purchase on release date, foregoing pre-orders this time around. Check out videos for both “Stuck” and “Enough” below, which can currently be purchased/streamed on your favorite DSP and continue to support independent music!

PC: Rileydownsphoto
L to R: Christian Grey (Vocals), Logan Bartholomew (Vocals), Cody Pauly (Guitar), Page Brownie (Bass)

Purchase/Stream “Enough” and “Stuck”
(Physical Merch/CDs available on release date)