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The Vincent Black Shadow is a Canadian five-piece band signed to the Bodog record label. 'Fears in the Water' is the debut album from the band and comprises of a grand total of thirteen tracks amassing to fifty one minutes of music. For the most part the tracks tend to clock in at around the four minute mark and the sound created here can be quite a hard hitting one.
The 'Fears in the Water' album is quite an interesting one, the band features a female lead vocalist and it is her voice that stands out strongly throughout the album as the key feature of the music that has here been created. The vocal style of The Vincent Black Shadow front woman Cassandra Ford is extremely similar to that of Gwen Stefani, the vocal sound created throughout this album comes across strongly and always there is great power in her voice. Although the bands singer is strong; not always do the other components of the music work too well here with this album. Sometimes it seems that this band is trying to create a few too many sounds at once and the music therefore can on occasion sound a little messy.
Beginning with 'Metro' the album starts quite strongly here, the chorus is rather repetitive but the track does I feel work quite well. The vocals sound strong here but the repetitive nature of the music detracts away from the overall quality of the sound that has here been created. It's a well constructed track, the chorus can cause quite an irritation however and this is in fact something that is true of many of the tracks on this album. Never is the music particularly bad as such, the instrumental element just has quite a tendency to be more than a little repetitive.
Throughout this 'Fears in the Water' album the guitars always possess great strength and accompany the vocals perfectly. The guitars are excellent, the vocals are brilliant, but often the melodies created here are not hugely impressive. All too often here the tracks begin well but soon become irritating as the repetitive nature of the music begins to grate. This is not to take anything away from the quality of the vocal performance; always the voice of Cassandra Ford is incredibly strong here and never does the power of her voice cease to amaze me.
Title track 'Fears in the Water' is probably the best track that this album has to offer, the music is well presented by the band here and always the sound created here is a strong one. The track progresses well and never is there a dull moment here. There's some strong guitar work, the vocals are powerful as ever and every element of the music just seems to come together to perfection. I really have a great appreciation for the title track on this album, the sound created suits the band strongly and had the band produced more tracks here of this sort of style then the album would be a lot better I feel. It's a powerful rock track, the best way to describe the sound created here would be to say that it is quite similar to that of Evanescence and my opinion of the track is that it is absolutely excellent.
'Dream' has to be my least favourite track from this album, it just doesn't seem to work and the plodding pace of the instrumental element and stretching of the word 'dream' to about ten seconds in length is really quite an odd one. It's by far the weakest track on this album in my opinion, I just fail to see the appeal of the track and every time I listen to it the droning nature of the music fails to impress me. There are times here when the vocal performance is incredibly strong and huge power can be felt protruding through, for the most part however the track just seems to fail.
The main positive that can be drawn from this album is the excellence of the voice of front woman Cassandra Ford, the guitars possess great strength also but it is truly the vocalist that is the star of the show here. Despite the supreme vocal performance here, the music created is really quite a disappointment on the whole. Many of the tracks featured on this album do not progress too well at all and listening to this album can therefore be quite a disappointment. The Vincent Black Shadow is most certainly a band with great potential; work certainly needs to be put in on the instrumental side of things however as at current I just do not feel that this band is quite the finished article. The repetitive nature of the music is a great let down here, something that stops the album from ever being truly excellent and an element that holds back the overall quality of the music.
Label: Bodog Music
Release Date: 5th November 2007
Originally posted by me on my website Alt-UK.com
The 5-piece, The Vincent Black Shadow, were formed in 2000, through the collaboration of Cassandra Ford and good friend Rob Kirkham. The pair met in a bar and became musical collaborators, over the time Rob enlisted his brothers Chris and Anthony to join the band. Later on Mary Ancheta joined the group as keyboardist, in 2006, the group were enlisted by Bodog records and this summer went on the Vans Warped tour with bands like; Paramore, New Found Glory, Hawthorne Heights and Funeral For A Friend.
The line-up at present is as follows;
* Cassandra Ford - Lead Vocals (2006-present)
* Robbie Kirkham - Guitar (2006-present)
* Anthony Kirkham - Drums (2006-present)
* Chris Kirkham - Bass (2006-present)
* Mary Ancheta - keyboards (2007-present)
Their debut album, Fears in the Water, was released in the United Kingdom, on the 11th July 2006. They have already released two tracks from this album; Metro and Control. Both have been underground tracks that have received better reception in the United States than in the United Kingdom. Metro was the best faring single reaching number one in Fuse's guilty pleasures chart.
There are 13 tracks on this album and it is 50:56 minutes long.
~~ Metro - 4.26 ~~
The opening track to the album, a great introduction to Cassandra's spectacular voice, and the alternative - perhaps even fair ground style musical talents. This track told me from the first time I heard it, made me want to sing, a lot and very loud..! The lyrics, sound amazing against the back drop of the organ background. 'The drugs don't work no more,' sounds like the band have inspiration from The verve and their famous track, 'Drugs Don't Work Anymore.' Not that this is in anyway a bad thing it shows the band have taken some great inspiration from those around them. The guitar riffs are constantly solid and do leave you tapping your foot.
~~ Control - 3.16 ~~
A particular favour of mine as it has some awesome lyrics, 'time time the glove is latex.' Sounds like a kinky song, but is never the less an amazing sounding song. The lyrics are just a basis for how good this song is, the keyboard skills of Ancheta are inspiring as she as such a talent for creating innovative music. Even though this song is a little repetitive at time is is still a great song.
~~ Bullet on the Tracks - 3.08 ~~
Continuing the quick paced lyrics and guitars that has been throughout. I have to say this song despite it obvious production quality does annoy the hell out of me it repeats itself so much, the lyrics go on and on. Unusually for me I have to say I don't like this song as much as I feel I should. The lyrics 'Don't call me bad...' bore me to tears I'm afraid.
~~ Don't Go Soft - 4.59 ~~
Slower tracks than previous songs on this album, again the lyrics to this song, are so good 'hope your lock fits with her key.' Showing a little resentment to a new relationship from an ex, although this song is quite slow, it does provide some strong drumming work from Anthony Kirkham - providing a good beat and even more reason to sing along.
~~ Valentine - 3.26 ~~
This track slightly reminded me of an Evanescence track, with its ferocious guitars and exited drum beats. I do think through Cassandra's voice as slightly similar to Amy Lee's. this track again is quite representative, but not enough to annoy. It is quite a good track for playing loud to annoy your neighbours and family...!
~~ Broken - 3.48 ~~
Track number 6, already sounds familiar even from the first listening. It is hard to place who this song sounds like but it is easily the catchiest track on the album. The whole musical line - up is solid, and for a band only producing music for release for a few years, they sound a very tight band with great enthusiasm. Especially live, the band have so much energy, on what I have seen from the Vans Warped Tour, this band were as lively on stage as they are with their lyrics.
~~ The House of Tasteful Men - 3.34 ~~
Somehow this title always reminds me of some old horror flick, filled with evil but good looking men... Not entirely sure why! However, this is a good track again sounding a little far ground, the keyboard skills on Ancheta are very prominent throughout this album, but the guitar of Rob Kirkham is so electric it sets the song and event he album off perfectly.
~~ Surgery - 3.13 ~~
One of the lyrics from this song has been on my myspace pages for a long time now... 'Cut a piece of skin for me I don't remember how I looked before he got to me.' Just sounds like some mad cosmetic surgery..! A brilliant set of lyrics followed up with some talented guitar work, followed by the stability of drums and talent of keyboard. You really can't get much better than this!
~~ Ghost Train Out - 3.37 ~~
The most sing along track of the album, but don't sing too loud, it is so suited to Cassandra's voice. There is not much to say about this track as it is quite boring but I do still like it regardless of that, as the riffs near the end are so well fitting to the song.
~~ Fears In The Water - 3.59 ~~
A more upbeat song, that gives you the idea, through the lyrics of an demon or dragon coming at you from the sea or any mass expanse of water. Could scar a small child!! The keyboards are again quite fairground like but the whole song has some fun qualities, from the guitar riffs that impaired me to take up guitar again.
~~ Dream - 4.23 ~~
I always have to sing to this song, it has some interesting lyrics and again a very fairground style keyboards. As usual the guitar riffs are strong and the lyrics are inspiring. This band make creating new music seem easy, but they don't seem to become complacent about it and keep producing amazing tracks.
~~ This Road is Going Nowhere -3.18 ~~
This track and Valentine seem to be slightly out of place in the album, but that makes a nice contrast. To the usual albums that have similar tracks all the way through. The music on this track is so good it has such a tension build up with guitars and keyboards ¾ of the way through, the change in pitch of Cassandra's voice just sets this track off..!
~~ Letters To No One - 3.19 ~~
Seemingly about another break up, Cassandra appears to be singing about, the problems and the finality of killing a relationship and having someone to blame. For a good track this song ended on a very repetitive note. Never the less it is a good end to the album and I am now looking forward to the next one of which the band are beginning to work on!
This album is pretty elusive to find unless you know where to look..! it is available on Zavvi and play.com if you're lucky.... The prices are fairly varied anything from £8 to £15 depending on where you look. It is also obviously on eBay! As is everything..!
I would recommend this album to any one who is a fan or Evanescence or Paramore, as it has strong beats and is a catchy album if you can get hold of it!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
3 Bullet on the Tracks
4 Don't Go Soft
7 House of Tasteful Men
9 Ghost Train Out
10 Fear's in the Water
12 This Road Is Going Nowhere
13 Letters to No One