Vinnie Caruana - Survivor's Guilt

Review by Dom Vigil

Every single song on Vinnie Caruana’s debut solo album, Survivor’s Guilt is meaningful, emotional and well written. Caruana pulls out all of the stops on this release, singing and playing both acoustic and electric guitars while enlisting I Am The Avalanche’s Kellen Robson and Brett ‘The Ratt’ Romnes on bass and drums. Each track not only feels full, but remains incredibly personal, the lyricism taking the lead and strong instrumentals following suit.

“Burn It Down” serves as the perfect aggressive and energetic opener, proving that this isn’t simply an acoustic solo album, but a full and high energy release. Caruana’s gritty, passionate and emotional vocals are something that fans of I Am The Avalanche and The Movielife have grown to know and love, making the transition to his solo album seamless and effortless. Following "Burn It Down" is the more emotional, “We Don’t Have To Die Alone,” which takes on a completely different sound from the opener. Carried by softer vocals and acoustic guitar, “We Don’t Have To Die Alone” not only showcases the vulnerability that Caruana delivers in this release, but also provides quite a bit of versatility right off the bat.

A step away from “We Don’t Have To Die Alone” is the witty “Angel Of The North,” which doesn’t take things too seriously, and instrumentally, is the first really laid back song on Survivor's Guilt. Then comes the blunt, “Heavy Weighs The Summer,” which kicks off with those signature gritty vocals and the line, “I hate the sound it makes/When your vocal chords vibrate.” This track is bitter and angry, but also feels like moving on. Despite the frustration in the lyrics, instrumentally the song is very bright and hopeful, making for a great contrast.

Survivor’s Guilt as a whole is a very honest release, visiting just about every emotion on the spectrum, but the title track is quite possibly the most raw song on the album. Lines like, “It was never meant to end like this/But here we are,” are absolutely heartbreaking. Despite the fact that some songs like “Angel Of The North” may have a more lighthearted tone, Caruana explores many different emotions on this release, and the longing, anger and sadness in “Survivals Guilt” is palpable.

“Under My Side Of The Bed,” which opens with the line, “I don’t think that I ever wanna sleep again/Without you in my bed” is a honest love song, while the following song “I Don’t Believe You” is absolutely heartbreaking, but paired with an upbeat tune and catchy guitar work, it’s hard not to bob your head along.

There isn’t one song on Survivor’s Guilt that isn’t catchy as hell or doesn’t tell an important story. The second to last song, “Roll Back To Me” is a very simplistic track, for instance, but the raw emotion and pretty instrumentation really drives the story home. Closing out the album is the dark and noisy ending, “Your Religion Is Killing Me,” and while it ends on a rather bitter note, the sense of hope and positivity is strong throughout Survivor’s Guilt as a whole. Caruana explores the entire emotional spectrum with Survivor’s Guilt, creating a very honest and human release.

Rating: 5/5

Listen to "Survivor's Guilt"

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