I don’t know about Vegas, what about Wacken?
Yes, the Australian-based Take Us To Vegas, with only a single record to their name, is already capable of playing the Wacken Open Air festival. While I haven’t seen them live, their album Alive is a mix between rhythmic rock, hard rock, and metal, therefore making them a perfect addition to the festival line-up.
The Metal scene should be paying serious attention to Take Us To Vegas as they have a sound that is mainstream and radio friendly, while simultaneously having the core guttural determination that is a trademark of the greatest metal bands throughout the world. Think Avenged Sevenfold meets All That Remains with a little Escape The Fate and you’ll get an idea of their sound signature.
While Take Us To Vegas is building on numerous influences, they have produced an album with a unique style and it would be fair to say that I haven’t been this impressed with a debut metal band since Gloomball’s The Distance was released in 2013.
Alive is well recorded and mastered with remarkably clear vocals and a bassline that is well defined, but not bloated. This results in a non-brickwalled release that offers a very pleasing sound that is never fatiguing. While it is disappointing that the album is not available on TIDAL Hi-Fi, the Spotify Premium (320 kbit/s) stream is certainly up to the task and sounds incredible via my Oppo HA-2 DAC. However, there is a little vocal sibilance in a couple of the tracks that can become distracting, once you know what to listen for. Based on when it occurs, I would say that it is simply a case of natural sibilance in Ryan Goodall’s vocal. He certainly wouldn’t be the first vocalist to exhibit this behaviour and, to be honest, it is minor and only noticeable on the pronunciation of ‘s’ words and sounds.
While I am happy to subscribe to multiple streaming music services, many consumers aren’t and it is with that knowledge that I implore any artist to ensure their music is available on every platform possible. I can confirm that Take Us To Vegas do have an artist page on TIDAL as their 2012 single, Apparently It’s Frowned Upon, is available. However, it is not available in CD-quality and therefore no better than the 320 kbps Spotify Premium stream. In-fact, I would have to say that the Spotify Premium stream, of this particular song, is superior to the non-TIDAL Hi-Fi stream in sonic depth, bass response, and overall energy. The difference is likely the result of the varied lossy codecs used by each service. Spotify uses the arguably superior Ogg Vorbis while TIDAL uses the AAC codec for their lossy streams. That said, while I can’t compare the TIDAL Hi-Fi lossless stream, I have always found TIDAL Hi-Fi to offer a superior sound quality, for their lossless FLAC streaming, versus the Ogg Vorbis codec used by Spotify Premium.
Regardless, Alive is an incredible recording. It is mastered respectfully and all I can say is a massive thank you to STL Studios for not brickwalling the recording of this epic album. You guys ROCK!
We The Tyrants is an incredibly hard hitting song that sets the tone for the entire album. There are symphonic-styled elements throughout song that I adore and it reminds me of Metallica’s excellent S&M concert.
Following the symphonic-styled closure of We The Tyrants, your mind will be Torn Apart as the song has an incredible rhythm with a killer guitar intro that is somewhat reminiscent of Zakk Wylde’s guitar licks. From a compositional standpoint, Torn Apart is quite complex yet every element fits together perfectly.
Victims (feat. Mike Champa) has a skull thumping beat that reminds me of Slipknot’s All Hope Is Gone era. This is the song that enabled me to declare that Take Us To Vegas is ready for Wacken. I’d love to see this song performed live!
I love the intro and backing instrumental solo elements of Alive. There are some excellent elements throughout the song, but I feel it needs a little more polish and it has too much sibilance for my liking. There are sections where it sounds as though you are being whispered to while simultaneously having the lyrics sung to you. It is simply distracting as a result.
I love the sonic introduction to Holding Fear. The shift between the verse and chorus, in vocal delivery, is sonic perfection. Overall, Holding Fear is incredibly dynamic, with a massive soundstage, and a pleasure for the mind to interpret.
We The Haunted doesn’t really do anything for me. It is a little too campy for my liking. That said, it would make a perfect addition to any coming-of-age film soundtrack. While I generally love explicit tracks, certainly over their ‘clean’ counterparts, the inclusion of profanity can make or break a song. Unfortunately, the inclusion of profanity in this song simply feels out of place and forced; especially considering it is the only explicit track on the album.
Embers has a great rhythm throughout, but the real star of this song is the chorus. It may come across to some as ‘radio friendly’, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The Architect has another symphonic-styled sound that I feel works perfectly with the metal music genre. It is one of my favourite songs on the album and I love the growling vocal interludes as it keeps the song engaging from start to finish. You must also listen to that epic guitar solo towards the end of the song. Warning: you will need your air guitar!
Ventures has a seriously good rhythm and gorgeous bass guitar tracks that, while complementary, stand out in the mix. It is one of the slower songs on the album, but it is a welcome relief from the otherwise skull thumping album. In-fact, I love these almost ballad-style recordings, by metal bands, as it shows diversity and skill. However, you won’t want to get too relaxed as Ventures seamlessly transforms into the skull cracking Empty Pages.
Empty Pages is EPIC!
A World In Waiting is an enjoyable song, but I feel it positioned badly on the album. While I wouldn’t want to change the transition from Ventures to Empty Pages, I do feel it would have been much more suited to follow Ventures.
Fatebreaker is a fantastic song that will encourage you to play the album again.
There is little doubt in my mind that Take Us To Vegas will become extraordinarily successful. However, the band’s name does concern me as it isn’t as hard hitting as their music and is difficult to remember. Although, I do have confidence in their logo as one doesn’t tend to read it, but admire it. In a similar manner, the cover of Alive is a gorgeous piece of artwork. Unfortunately, the album is not available on vinyl; I would buy the vinyl just to have the artwork. Yes, dear reader, in this case you can judge an album buy its cover.
Alive is a perfect addition to any rock and roll/metal collection. While I can strongly recommend the Spotify Premium stream, get behind Take Us To Vegas and buy the CD.