Vendetta Red

Vendetta Red Biography

Fanatical religious cults. Rampant drug abuse. The apocalypse. Gender wars. Kill Bill-levels of violence, torture and retribution. All of these things, along with two hundred years of history and an actual mass suicide, play a role on Sisters of the Red Death, the epic new album by Seattle’s Vendetta Red. The disc serves as a follow-up to the group’s critically acclaimed 2003 major-label debut, Between the Never and the Now, which most notably featured the rock radio and MTV hit “Shatterday.”

As singer Zach Davidson explains, the cult (actually known as the Brothers and Sisters of the Red Death) formed in Japan in the 1700s, but was eventually adopted much later by a very fervent Russian contingent. Little is known about this group of converts, except for its demise—on November 14th, 1900, hundreds of these Russian Red Death members immolated themselves in an act of purification before the coming apocalypse.

So, it’s a great story. But turning an obscure tale of mass suicide into a rock album was another thing entirely. The writing process took two years and contained numerous unexpected twists.

“On our album, the cult is now actually just a background to the story of a woman named Gloria,” says Davidson. “She blames all of the faults of the world on men because she’s born after a nuclear holocaust, where she was genetically transformed into this horrible Medusa kind of creature. She starts a gender revolution called the Sisters of the Red Death, and basically takes over what’s left of the world. Then she falls in love, and the thing ends with a new species inhabiting the Earth, and it’s no longer human.”

Sisters of the Red Death is the underlying story and provides a cohesive framework for the album. However, from the album’s first delay-drenched guitar line to Davidson’s final blood-curdling scream, listeners not familiar with Sisters’ historical relevance will simply hear twelve monstrous tracks filled with manic energy, bellowing choirs, gigantic guitars, jaw-dropping drum fills and even the occasional dose of old-school hardcore aggression.

Sisters is also incredibly diverse. The thrashy “The Banshee Ballet” and “A Joyless Euphoria” should satisfy fans of the VR’s earlier, heavier material, while tracks such as “Dark Heart Silhouette” and the first single “Silhouette Serenade” share a symphonic pop sensibility, akin to The Cure or Smashing Pumpkins at their most grandiose. Then there’s the neo-psychedelic freak-out, “In Lieu of Dead Brides,” which features the prominent use of the Theremin, an electronic instrument made famous on the Beach Boys’ 1966 hit, “Good Vibrations.” ([“Brides” is] the best song I’ve ever been privileged to play on,” Davidson gushes.)

However, despite Red Death’s deep thematic scope, it was the band’s decision to strip down the production that created the album’s more epic moments. “We took two years to write the songs, but we tracked the whole thing in two weeks,” boasts Davidson. “I would have done it quicker, but our producer [Howard Benson, who has worked with everyone from My Chemical Romance to Motörhead] would only let me do two songs a day.” By eschewing the typical production rulebook, the group ironically raises the intensity level on Red Death. “There are only two guitars on each track,” explains Davison. “It sounds bigger because we’re not trying to layer as many sounds as possible on each song.”

Six years into their career, Vendetta Red is still probably best known to its fans for Davidson’s charismatic and borderline violent live performances. However, in accordance with the band’s newfound maturity, the whirling dervish who can effortlessly go from a falsetto to a scream has learned to curb his onstage theatrics in order to concentrate on what matters to him the most: The Music.

“We’re definitely into still being a vicious live act, but I feel a little more conscious about singing to the best of my ability,” he says. “That’s more important to me than, say, cutting myself on stage. However, that’s still really fun. Look, I don’t like to crack my head open, but it happens.”

After a break from touring, the members of Vendetta Red are ready to take their new material on the road. This spring, the band played several dates with Finch and A Static Lullaby, and are heading out on their own for the rest of the summer. Unite, Brothers and Sisters—the end is finally in sight.

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