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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Band: The Violet Burning
Label: Northern Records
Length: 12 Tracks / 52:06
I was hooked on the first few bars of The Violet Burning's opening track from their CD Drop-Dead. Even though our boys in the band are American "Humm" has that mix of continental European and British sound to it. Lead vocalist Michael J. Pritzl's deep gritty voice grabs you by the ears.
Each band or artist is unique but if you are looking for a reference point The Violet Burning musically is a hybrid of sounds. At times the trio reflects shades of The Smiths, Hundred Reasons, Mute Math, and Franz Ferdinand.
With deep bass chords resonating throughout "Do You Love Me" and Pritzl transitioning between crisp vocals and screams there is no danger of the listener mistaking this for anything other than a rock record.
Whether Pritzl the primary songwriter is using allegory as he does with "Humm" or utilizing liberal doses of metaphor as in "Swan Sea" he proves he is a superb modern day poet. "Swan Sea" is a gentle rock tune that begs for relief from emotional pain.
Josiah Sherman shines on moog bass especially on the quirky "Eleanor." There are plenty of special effects and distortion but it is applied with good taste and not 'just because'.
As much as The Violet Burning is a trio of rockers they create some breathless emotive tracks. "Blown Away" and "The Ends Begin" are two of the more beautiful songs that you will hear in 2006. The aforementioned two tunes combined with "More" and "Eleanor" take us on a journey through the many moods of love and longing for love.
Northern Records is carving out a name for itself as a label that attracts artists who color outside the lines. The label has assembled a stable of artists which includes Luxury and Kevin Max.
Despite the fact these guys hail from Southern California if you enjoy a moodier British or European flavor to your music then you might want to add Drop-Dead to your CD collection. You won't be disappointed.
The Violet Burning have toured North America and Europe extensively. Since 1990's album Chosen they have created eight additional full length CDs and two EPs. If Drop-Dead is any indication just like a fine wine they are getting better with age.
By Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved
Joe Montague is an internationally published journalist / photographer. His ministry is dedicated to the memory of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18. All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague.
We’re all drowning…in sin, in despair, in stress, in doubt. The Violet Burning’s Michael Pritzl has always acknowledged this through honest songwriting, and with his latest release, drop-dead, he offers a lush, lifesaving album to rescue weary souls in search of Spiritual dry land.
The disc begins in a semi-sonic underwater setting. Waves of distorted guitar and whitecaps of deep-toned, tribal drums undulate at the start of the disc’s opener, “Humm.” “Turn out all the lights and let’s begin / Switch on all the dark and let the music spin…” Pritzl pleads before diving into the deep to throw resuscitative arms around the listless listener. He grasps on tight and smoothly guides plugged ears and hushed hearts upward toward the surface where more healing words and melodies await.
drop-dead is a return to roots of sorts for The Violet Burning. After the “kinder, gentler,” white-themed Northern Records release This is the Moment (2003)—with its near radio-friendly hooks and brighter production—Pritzl has again embraced the delicious darkness that has made The Violet Burning longtime indie rock heroes of alternative Christian rock. Within those shadows of human nature, Pritzl reaches heavenward to seek and find solace in the One who knows the challenges of earthly existence: Jesus, the central saving figure most often referred to in the psalm-like lyrics Pritzl pens: “Yeah, you’re my heart, you’re my home” (“One Thousand Years”); “Will you carry me? You’re all I want” (“All I Want”); “All my life, I’m looking for light I cannot find within me / Hold me now, I think I’m breaking” (“Humm”).
The glorious, “my-speakers-can’t-handle-this-intensity” glam of “Do You Love Me,” the mesmerizing key-drone and swelling build of “More,” and the underground New Wave pulse of “Rewind” prove that The Violet Burning’s best work is decidedly ahead, not behind. Pritzl’s choice of studio musicians who share his vision for authentic art and audio transcendence (VB live drummer Jason lord Mize, The Listening’s keysman Josiah Sherman, and tracking gurus The Glitter Twins [a.k.a. Gabriel Wilson and Chris Greely of The Listening]) propels drop-dead into the stratosphere, orbiting in the company of previous brilliant VB efforts, including Strength and The Violet Burning.
Surrender to this album; surrender to the Spirit that inspired it.
Recommended if you like The Cure, T. Rex, U2, The Listening, Cush.
Greg Adams, 5/24/06