Just Like Vinyl, fronted by Thomas Erak formerly of The Fall of Troy, has just released their sophomore album, Black Mass. At first listen, their sound is very reminiscent of Coheed and Cambria as they have a very similar progressive style and, at times, Erak sounds eerily like Claudio Sanchez. That being said, there is a heavier side to them as well. In fact, if Bullet For My Valentine and Coheed had a baby, Just Like Vinyl would be it.
Black Mass is confusing yet clever with its mix of melodic and hardcore metal. You never really know what you’ll hear on the next track. While their self-titled debut album didn’t generate such rave reviews, Black Mass promises to be much better received.
Amidst some periodically furious fretwork and impressive vocals from Erak, there are quite a few catchy tunes. The lead track Safety Word, as well as songs like Walk You Home and First Born, prominently display their progressive side and are quite well composed. As far as catchy goes, Bitches Get Stitches, which is probably one of the better known songs off the album, is one you’ll find yourself humming while waiting on line at the grocery store for no apparent reason. The guitar riff in the beginning and through is really addictive.
The song Hours and Whisky Sours may leave some feeling confused as it starts out as somewhat of another catchy tune and then about three minutes in, turns into a whole new song, which is neither a positive nor a negative – it’s just unexpected. Sucks To Be You comes out of nowhere with screaming from start to finish – a big change from all its preceding tracks. Other heavier songs come later on the album, such as ATM and $$$.
The only real unnecessary track might be Happiness Is A Hole, which could be the weakest track on the album. It can quite possibly just be skipped over by listeners unless anyone has forgotten how to spell the word “happiness” – this is repeated to the point where it’s almost annoying to hear. The remaining tracks are fine enough, with nothing particularly noteworthy to mention. One misstep out of twelve isn’t half bad so it can easily be forgiven.
Black Mass is a solid sophomore effort by Just Like Vinyl. It displays a lot of musical versatility and provides a promising outlook for the future of the band. It’s an overall great listen that you’ll want to spin more than once.