REVIEW: Vita Versus – Nomads [2015]


Artist: Vita Versus

Album: Nomads


The world is filled with those who wander—those who roam the entire globe over and over, foreign to the concept of home and bound only by how far their feet will take them. There are those wanderers who search–for meaning, happiness, wealth or security. But, as the saying goes, not all who wander are lost. Enter Vita Versus, and their enormous, vivid album, Nomads. Nomads is a lively, large splash of color on a largely two-tone genre, boldly combining energetic, enthralling metallic heaviness with a serene, simply beautiful post-hardcore platform to ignite an explosion of bright, breathe taking originality into a scene that could desperately use it. Nomads sees Vita Versus wandering the world not because they are lost, but because they have a mission: to deliver light and beauty to the darkest and most dismal corners of the listener’s head.

Vita Versus waste no time in their bombastic display of dynamic post-hardcore expertise. Rather than light a fuse and watch it sizzle, they explode right into the listener’s head with all guns blazing, ready to take complete control of their brain. Percussionist Tristan Lester leads the charge, favoring simple, catchy and effective patterns over pointlessly complex drum lines. In this manner, the bold kick drum on “Heading:North,” or the pummeling toms throughout “Directionless” hammer Nomads home—and are brilliantly contrasted by Lester’s moments of minimalistic drumming and jazz-influenced subtly. “Woodworks” has an introduction that showcases this brilliantly, sneaking into the listener’s head rather than breaking down the front door. While Lester’s drumming is relatively basic, it would be folly to mistake it for boring or talentless. “Cardiac Atrophy” and “An Exodus In Itself” both prove that to be false, taking turns swinging at the listener with bouncy kick drums and speedy, surreal fills. Lester rarely steals the limelight for himself, as he serves primarily as a background for the incredible fretwork from guitarists Brett Wasson and Neil Clauser. Wasson and Clauser sound like the middle ground between Northlane’s aggressive, lead-heavy riffing and Dance Gavin Dance’s more ethereal, atmospheric moments. Tracks like “Cardiac Atrophy” see Wasson and Clauser opening with a crystal clear riff that quickly descends into dissonant, sporadic heaviness. Meanwhile, “Transcendents” favored a more consistent display of riff-driven chaos and energy, with Lester behind the dynamic duo, the hammer pounding each crystal clear note into the listener’s head like a nail.

Vita Versus’ varied instrumental stylings serve as a vivacious canvas for the incredible vocal efforts put forth by frontmen Hunter Avant and Sean Bess. Avant and Bess take turns badgering brash, bleeding gouges into the listener’s ears with abrasive screams and subsequently soothing them with crooned, incredible clean vocals. Together, these duo tell a different tale on each of Nomads‘ tracks, giving the album the feeling that more than just a hodgepodge of songs, it is a collection of experiences from Avant and Bess. The energy and passion the duo put into each syllable is breathe stopping; as one’s screams sear into the listener’s head with a white hot passion and the other’s soaring, sublime singing are as refreshing as water to a desert. Together, Avant and Bess take every incredible instrumental soundscape Vita Versus put forth and add to it, making it just that much closer to perfection.

Nomads wanders back and forth across the border dividing melody and aggression. However, it does not wander randomly—rather it follows the instructive whims of Vita Versus’ diverse instrumentation and the dynamic clean-harsh vocals from Avant and Bess. While this experience defines the entire album, it is especially evident throughout “Relative Reality,” where the band quickly and smoothly oscillates from incredible, jarring heaviness to catchy, crooned cleanly sung choruses. Much as the lyrics to “Relative Reality” hint at, Nomads is an experience that blurs the lines between divine, detailed beauty and mechanical, monstrous heaviness. With passion and power by the boatload and more energy than a clone army of energizer bunnies, Vita Versus are amply equipped to take post-hardcore by storm.

Most people would say they don’t need “another heavy-soft post-hardcore band.” That’s good—because that’s not what Vita Versus have to offer. Their creative and colorful blend of metallic aggression, hardcore heaviness and passionate post-rock and post-hardcore musicianship is anything but plain and dull. Nomads is a release bound to have the listener wandering the world over to try and find a better display of post-hardcore than Vita Versus’—a search bound to last years.



For Fans Of: Northlane, Dance Gavin Dance, Walking with Strangers, Issues

By: Connor Welsh