Review by Shannon Shumaker
The five songs on Smoke And Mirrors are a great sample of Vital Signs’ unique sound. I say unique, because it’s definitely hard to stand out in the metalcore scene, and that’s just what Vital Signs have done with this EP. Many bands tend to sound the same, follow the same songwriting pattern, and keep it safe, but, as you’ll be able to tell by the first track on Smoke And Mirrors, Vital Signs don’t play it safe.
While “Sound Of The End” begins slow and dark, the song quickly blooms into beautiful, melodic clean vocals and intricate guitar work, leaving me intrigued. By the time that “Sound Of The End” transitions into “Dear Death,” it’s apparent that the clean vocals are one of the strongest aspects about Smoke And Mirrors. While many metalcore bands rely on heavy breakdowns and hard-hitting guitar work to sell their sound, Smoke And Mirrors is much more melodic and (dare I say) pretty. The vocal work and lead guitar part in “Dear Death” especially sound nice together, making “Dear Death” easily the most well constructed song on the EP. The guitar work in “The Chosen” is also very strong. The song has quite a bit of energy and buildup, as well.
I think the only flaw in Smoke And Mirrors is its lack of a stand-out track. While the energy is great in “The Chosen” and “Sound Of The End,” and the vocal work is consistently strong throughout the entire EP, there just wasn’t one particular song that stood out and blew me away. There were also points in the EP (especially in”Sound Of The End” and the title track “Smoke And Mirrors”) that the music overpowered the clean vocals, making them a little hard to hear, which is a shame, considering how strong they are. That being said, however, the sound that Vital Signs have created with this record - the gorgeous mix of strong guitar work, melodic vocals and high energy - definitely promises to take them far. These are only five songs, after all, one of which is an interlude. I’m definitely interested to see what Vital Signs will be able to create with their next release, be it another EP or (hopefully) a full-length
Listen to "Dear Death"