Vermilion - "Flattening Mountains And Creating Empires"
(Redwood Records 2002, RED-026)


From Aural Innovations #23 (April 2003)

Who would have thought I would be reviewing a band I have never heard of from Everett, WA. This strikes me odd, considering I live in a suburb north of Seattle, WA, which is only 15 minutes south of Everett, WA. I just thought Iíd mention that.

Letís get the name dropping out of the way first. Itís produced by Steve Albini, the famous alterna producer and alterna music journalist. The cover art is by none other than Roger Dean, the godfather of prog record covers. The band itself consists of guitarist Colin McBride, guitarist/trumpetist Bryce Shoemaker, bassist/violinist Danny Oleson, and drummer Eric Junge. Together they made a alterna-prog record (note that it is also available on vinyl).

We got your screaming, your arty little girl samples, your arty musical discord, and your alterna chopsaw guitar, and thatís all in the first song. Okay, so Iím making fun of them. Thatís probably not a good idea, since I might actually meet them. Unlike the European bands, whom Iíll never meet.

So, do I like them? Well, yes. I like them because Iím impressed that anyone can write prog that close to ďgrunge centralĒ (Seattle) or that they can to it in Everett, which is more of a hard rock/country town (think ĎFreebirdí). I like them because they have a fresh approach to a style of music Iíve been listening to since the early seventies. Letís face it, most of the decent prog bands are old folks.

Their sound? True prog. Doesnít really sound like any of the big names though. But it does have that hard to define prog element. They do all the right prog things, like multiple tempos, lots of chord changes, odd riffs, samples thrown in here and there. They also do a bunch of heavy alterna things. Then thereís that aggro edge, but I attribute that to the fact that they look young and Steve Albini produced.

Well, thatís my piece. I would suggest that you buy this. Expand your horizons. Get excited. Dance. Go crazy. Itís all on the cd.

For more information you can visit the Vermilion web site at: http://vermilion.freeservers.com.
Contact via snail mail c/o Redwood Records; PO Box 6041; Fullerton, CA 92834-6041.

Reviewed by Louis Hesselt-van-Dinter


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