Vox Vocis – Star Meissa Album Review

If anyone hasn’t done so already, check out the review of the ‘ debut album In The Arms of the Sun by Vox Vocis. That album completely blew me away and made me jealous because if I could somehow go back in time, that would be the album made. When I caught wind of the news that the band was recording their second album, I was extremely excited. I am happy to say that the band did not disappoint. This will be a breakdown of the entire album track by track .

Bring this back to what it was

The first song off the album “Lion” just takes your hand and grabs you on to the highly frenetic train of energy. Off the first track alone, you can tell the band came back with a vengeance and didn’t want to rest on the laurels of their first album. The song is layered extremely well. The inclusion of a talkbox and/or the robotic voice in the right ear was great and really added some growl to the low end.

Sleepy Puppy” has a very infectious intro riff that just can’t get out of your head. At this point. I began to understand that guitar player Alex Vaquera who also somehow sings while playing some of these wild riffs really stepped up his writing of guitar parts. Some of the rhythmic complexities are really interesting and it is only made better by the beautiful keys dancing on top of it, thanks to Luis Cerda.

Cold Snap” is a slight, but welcome change in the album. I like how they included the clean guitar, it really changed the vibe of the song and really makes me want an acoustic ep from them. I do wish the vocals during the breakdown around 2:45 seconds in was pushed more to the front.

Ghost to Give” gave me more of that softer vibe that I was hoping to get from the band. Now, for those that haven’t heard the song, they didn’t strip their sound down. They more or less gave it more space by not playing as much. Again, Luis’ keys work is fantastic. A noteworthy contribution on this album is the great drum work by Zachary Burton. I find that he has great dynamics, and could definitely accent the right parts of the beat to fit the feel of the song.

Running with your head on backwards

St Lawrence” was the first song the band teased for Star Meissa. After hearing it when they announced it, I knew the album was going to be an absolute game changer. The chorale vocals in the chorus in the breakdown coupled with the extremely proggy guitar work is a cocktail for addiction in my book. The song was on heavy rotation leading up to the albums’ release. The bass work done by Cheetah Moses is brilliant here, especially in the breakdown and I loved the way it accented the guitar work while still being it’s own entity.

Mercy” is the second song to have a music video off of the new album. This is probably one of my favorite songs off of the album for a lot of reasons. The music video is goofy and lighthearted. The song is extremely dynamic and has some of the best hi-hat work I’ve ever heard from Zach. The spots where adds the snare are just sublime around 1:40 in the song. I do wish the vocals were pushed a hair louder in the mix like it is for the music video though.

“East/South” is a song that I enjoy instrumentally. That is not to say the lyrics are bad, but more so that I space out during this song. The song has a lot of low end, which is lends itself to being a less dynamic song overall. I felt the snare should have much more brighter than it was.

Show me Mercy, show me.

Rabid” is by far my favorite song on this album. Cheetah stands out on this track with his bass work and communicates extremely well with the drummer to create a great pocket. Adding in Luis’ embellishments on the keys really brings this song to life. Alex ability to find a way to add some syncopated guitar work to the track really added the finishing touches to the song in my opinion. This song clearly shows their influence of Coheed and Cambria. Ending the song with the keys was also a great choice and I can see them opening a lot of their sets with that keys intro due to how dramatic it is.

Wake The Giant” was second single the band released. To me, this single is probably one of their more diverse  pieces of work on this album, but I wish it was earlier in the album. The bridge to this song is definitely one that will be sang at shows due to how catchy it is. The reverb effect on Alex’ voice adds this really interesting spacey effect that is otherworldly.

Lamb” is the final track on this 47 minute journey through the bands’ sophomore album. The entire song is completely different than anything else on this album. Part of me wishes there were more tracks like this on the album. The song has an even distribution of everyone in the band, is atmospheric, everything is clear and well spaced out. The song does progress into something heavier, but it does so with a good transition.

Closing Thoughts:

I really like this album. The riffs are proggy as hell, the drumming is great, the vocals stand out a lot and the keys embellish in all the right ways. Did I miss something? Ah, the bass. I had two main gripes with this album. The first being the lack of audible bass guitar (at least on my system)  on around half these tracks. I personally think this was partially due to the drums taking up a lot of that frequency with the floor toms and bass drum along with some distorted guitar riffs. Cheetah can show that he can play, and I’d love to hear more of that on the project.  That boils down to the mix though, so I think some re-mixing should solve that.

My second gripe was that the album became a little too much of the same around tracks 7 and 9 (East/South and Wake This Giant). This may be more of a ‘me’ thing versus the general listener since I don’t listen to nearly as much rock and metal as a I used to. I will say that even despite those issues, the album is still great. I can’t wait for all the lyrics to be released so I can understand the story of Mercy who seems to be a central focal point on this album. This album is definitely something you should check out. Listen to it here on bandcamp. 

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