Smart bands make things happen. Case in point, Vendetta Red. The Seattle based group started as a bar band in '98. A year later they recorded the EP "6 Kisses - A Blatant Reminder Of Why We Are Alive." They burned copies of the EP on a home computer and handled their own distribution. Having worked up and down the west coast, Vendetta Red recorded their first full-length LP "Blackout Analysis" which was another self-marketing project. This effort garnered some local radio play and tour dates. Second album "White Knuckle Substance" was released in '01 on Loveless Records. It too got local radio play. Epic Records signed Vendetta Red and released the "Cut Your Noose" EP in the U.K. to coincide with their tour. Stateside touring included opening for The Used and a stint on the Warped Tour. "Between The Never and the Now" featuring the single "Shatterday" hit in '03. It contained several songs that appeared on "White Knuckle Substance."
There was some shuffling prior to Vendetta Red's next release. Childres moved to keyboards and guitar and one-time Loveless artist Burke Thomas was installed on drums.
'05 release, "Sisters Of The Red Death," was inspired by an obscure cult formed in Japan called Brothers and Sisters of the Red Death. Little is known about them except that a fervent Russian contingent immolated themselves on November 14th, 1900, in an act of purification before the coming apocalypse. Well, the apocalypse didn't come, except for the Brothers and Sisters. Actually, the whole cult thing is a backdrop for an individual story. Yes, it's a concept album. With titles "Vendetta Red Cried Rape On Their Date With Destiny," "Shiver," "The Body And The Blood," "In Lieu Of Dead Brides" "The Great Castration" and "A Joyless Euphoria," it's not to hard to figure out where Vendetta Red is coming from. That led some to argue whether we really need another CD about death, destruction, rape and cult fixations when you can get that stuff non-stop on cable news.
It's interesting how some Rock bands come off like sophomore English majors. On "Sisters Of The Red Death" Vendetta Red tells the story of Gloria. She's a nice kid born after the nuclear holocaust (did we miss it?) who becomes genetically transformed into a horrible creature. Yes, that's basically the plot of 27 Godzilla movies but there's more. Gloria blames men for her plight so logically she starts a gender revolution called the Sisters of the Red Death. They basically take over what's left of the world. To this point we have a "B-minus" story. It needs a clever finish to make it "A" material. Do we get it? Nah, Gloria falls in love and a new species, one that is no longer human, inhabits the earth. If this were a movie plot you'd expect to see it get ripped to shreds on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Fortunately, the storyline isn't a make or break deal. Vendetta Red provide a brilliant series of hard edged, spirited Rockers. The opening track "Vendetta Red Cried Rape On Their Date With Destiny," first single "Dark Heart Silhouette" (the set's most accessible track), "Gloria" and "Shiver" are exceptional.
The first thing that becomes apparent on "Between The Never and The Now" is the emotional and sonic range, even within individual songs. The use of keyboards adds to the plaintive mood and provides texture, especially in the verses. Davidson's vocals, traveling from a whisper to a scream, drive the songs home. The Emo is right up against Metal ravings in the soft verse/loud chorus format.
As good as those songs are, it's the ones that begin on a roll and keep it going that really impress. "Opiate Summer" is a catchy Rocker - yes, Vendetta Red has a way with hooks. Single "Shatterday" and "Caught You Like A Cold" are standouts while "Lipstick Tourniquets" is the blistering Rocker.