The snotty, Fred Schneider-style of NVS’s vocalist Walter is in no way what I expected from this band. “The Beast Within” has a straight-forward punk type of sound, but a very emotive type of style that does not necessarily mesh perfectly with the music laid down. The band has been around for seven years, so there is some maturity floating around on this album. With this point, a song like “Savoring Grace” really is interesting in that it works on a number of level. The closest act that I can compare NVS to on this track has to be Rush; there are a number of different movements on this track (like a shorter “2112”), while there are moments of technical virtuosity thrown in to the track at random. The Rush influence comes out even further with “Lament”, with the whispered-out vocals really making the comparison germane.
What really seems to hamstring the band during this disc has to be their reliance on the exact same style of distortion through the majority of tracks on “Silicon Valley Modern Suicide”. At a lesser level, this distortion would be a nice tie between the tracks on the disc, but as the bread and butter of most of the tracks here, it begins to get repetitive after the third or so song where it is present. Luckily, there are times during tracks like “Lament” where the guitar and bass really step up to do a shrieking, thumping duet that saves the track from mediocrity. And please, the guitar version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” needs to stop, even if it is just referenced in passing (“Dead Samaritans”); it really gives the band a higher hurdle to jump through in the following track.
“Dead Samaritans” is one of the strongest tracks on the disc, so it is all the more tragic that this trainwreck of a guitar line has to start off the track; if one can imagine Rush playing with Green Day, one will have an idea of what NVS sounds like on the track. “Subjects to Adversity” is a watershed track in that Walter’s vocals take a rap-like flow at points during the track even its sung-out style; the bass responds admirably (in an almost-ska like way), to make this track fundamentally different from anything else that NVS has placed on “Silicon Valley Modern Suicide”. An interesting listen, to say the least; give it a shot if you like different music.
Top Tracks: Dead Samaritans, Quiet Room
NVS – Silicon Valley Modern Suicide / 2005 Self / 8 Tracks / http://www.nvshit.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / Reviewed 08 February 2006