Various Artists – Victory Style, Vol. 5

Various Artists
Victory Style, Vol. 5

As the latest in a bi-yearly sampling of its artist roster, Victory Records offers up Victory Style 5, showing what the label has been up to, as well as what it has in store. Bands contributing previously unreleased material are Atreyu, Taking Back Sunday, Grade, Student Rick, Waterdown, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Hoods, River City Rebels, Armor for Sleep, Bloodlet and Dead to Fall. The rest has all been previously available.
Highlights: Snapcase’s “Are You Tuned In?” blends metal and hardcore in a way that reminds you of earlier and more aggressive Deftones material. Thursday’s “Cross Out the Eyes,” though most people have heard it countless times already, is a welcome addition, as is the ska-punk of Catch 22 on “Guilty Pleasures,” mainly because it offers a nice break from all the yelling and screaming. Snowdogs offer up an interesting hybrid of pop, punk, and indie rock on “Are You With Missy?” and the ballsy rock of River City Rebels on “No Good” and Electric Frankenstein on “Nail it Down” offer a thorough injection of testosterone. Armor For Sleep’s “The Wanderer’s Guild” is downright beautiful and immediately makes one yearn for the album they have slated for the summer of 2002.
Lowlights: Grade’s version of David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” is quite disposable, and the same goes for Student Rick’s interpretation of Journey’s “Any Way You Want It.” Voodoo Glow Skulls’ “Cold Shoulder” is a little disappointing, and Angela Delamorte’s “Serpentine” is more frightening than anything else.
In between: The brutal and metal-tinged hardcore of bands like Atreyu (“A Song for the Optimist”), Darkest Hour (“An Epitaph”), Waterdown (“We’re Still Here”), Hoods (“Days in Hades”), Bloodlet (“Vision Quest”), Dead to Fall (“Graven Image”), Ringworm (“Amputee”), and Minus (“Chimera”) is tolerable in small amounts, but it tends to blend together when it comes in large doses like this. The Minus song proves to be the best of this bunch though, and it is the one most likely to be remembered. Things get more poppy with the sounds of newcomers Taking Back Sunday, billed by Victory as a combination of Thursday and Saves the Day. “The Ballad of Sal Villanueva” isn’t one of their best songs, but it is far from terrible, earning about the same status as Reach the Sky on the emo-punk “Homesick Confession.” Meanwhile, the furiously-paced hardcore of Strife (“Mon Bel Ami”) is sure to get you moving, as is Blood for Blood (“Mother Dear”).
As with any compilation, there are peaks and valleys scattered throughout Victory Style 5. Victory has branched out lately and added some more accessible bands to its quite heavy roster, and such bands help break things up on this gathering, creating a little something for everyone.