CD Reviews

Vonassi - 'The Battle Of Ego' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 17, 2010    
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Extremely refreshing album by a new band.

This is the debut from the band formed by Jeff Vaughn (drums, guitars and keyboards), Vince Buonassi (bass, guitars and keyboards) and vocalist, Chase Carter who got together in late 2007.

I wasn’t know what to expect when I first put this album on the CD player but it’s fair to say I wasn’t expecting what I heard as Vonassi have created something rather interesting in the way they have amalgamated some seemingly diverse influences and produced an eclectic but very enjoyable collection of songs.

My first impression was that the band had based their sound on that of Kings X in both the song construction and the vocal stylings of Carter, who has a remarkable similarity to Dug Pinnick, however as the songs come and go a number of other artists come to mind and some of them will be surprising because of their diversity. Spock’s Beard and Enchant may not come as a shock but how about, Squeeze, Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson all of whom come to mind from time to time?

‘The Drudge’ opens up proceedings with a grungy riff and a verse that is pure Kings X, although the chorus has a modern era Spock’s Beard feel that is extremely memorable.

‘Gini’ takes the tempo down and has a more traditional Prog feel, with SB being the comparison, initially. The chorus injects more energy than is in evidence on the acoustically driven verses. ‘Beginnings’ is a delightful neo-Prog style arrangement with a very nice refrain and some terrific guitar. The mid paced tempo picks up towards the end and the guitar takes on a more Rocking’ approach. This is a really top song that closes with some fantastic vocal harmonies.

‘Strong Arm Welfare’ crosses Kings X dynamics with the Costello style arrangement with an interesting result that makes for a good song, although the chorus doesn’t hit all the right buttons. ‘Posing for the Gold’ is a short but sweet ballad that has more acoustic guitar and a strong refrain combined with a lovely vocal arrangement. Cleverly, the song suddenly bursts in the title track, which makes you think you’re still listening to the previous song. The bass is excellent and the gritty guitar is a delight. Continuing the theme from earlier this track melds seamlessly into ‘Authenticity’ which has a bass and piano theme before the grungy guitar takes over before the lyrics from the previous song are repeated and a fine guitar solo rounds out the affair nicely.

‘Open Hands’ has a wonderful theme that puts me in mind of Enchant. It features some more fine soloing and is a terrific song, whilst ‘In the Mirror’ manages to come up with yet another memorable theme in a moody sort of way.

‘The Now Game’ has that Enchant feel and yet more great bass, although the vocal arrangement again harks at Kings X whilst ‘Field of View’ makes me think of Steely Dan playing quicker than usual on the verses and the bridge is glorious, but the chorus seems at odds with that.
To close the album we have ‘Coiled’ which is the album’s epic. Whereas most of the songs on the album come in under five minutes, this one is double that as it pretty much mixes all those influences that have gone before. At times the vocals get a bit over the top, but fortunately they don’t persist with that style.

This is an extremely refreshing album by a new band and I’ve enjoyed it a great deal because of the way they have successfully brought together a range of styles.

Gary Marshall

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