A couple of fresh SBAM Records releases arrived at the end of the last week, so it’s more than appropriate time to delve deep into an upcoming LP/CD by Versus The World. Of course, I already knew what to expect from a Lagwagon and Good Riddance members, but this material exceeded all my expectations. Seriously, The Bastards Live Forever is a top-notch record that carries all the vital elements of contemporary melodic punk rock, but there’s even more than meets the eye. Considering that Lagwagon and Good Riddance members are involved, some readers might think that Versus The World comes close to the sound of those bands, but that’s not the case. Versus The World exists for more than a decade, and judging by their earlier works, they nurture a unique sound where quality is always a top priority.
Thankfully, these folks avoided all the cliches and steered far away from the aggressive melodic hardcore of Good Riddance or the mellow but technically-demanding virtuosities of Lagwagon. It’s not like I have something against these two bands. Quite the contrary, they’re among my favorites, but it’s always good to hear something new. You’ll notice some similarities because The Bastards Live Forever is a profoundly melodic punk rock record but entirely performed in a fresh and unique manner. Versus The World nurture a specific mixture based upon some of the finest elements borrowed from modern melodic punk rock and pop-punk. However, you’ll also notice some classic melodic hardcore and skatepunk maneuvers along the way. It’s nearly mindblowing how the entire album bursts with sheer quality, brilliant ideas, and exceptional musicianship showcased by each involved band member. The band paid so much attention while assembling this material, and you’ll hear how every number has a perfect song structure consisting of enormously detailed segments.
The Bastards Live Forever isn’t another typical Californian melodic punk rock release because they almost avoided all the classic sonic maneuvers. Sure, you’ll notice some resemblances with renowned names, but it’s not a big deal because some of these folks literally invented this subgenre. The continuous dueling between the lead and rhythm guitars will unquestionably blow your mind. The jaw-dropping themes, leads, and melodies perfectly match the energetic riffs and chord progressions. The bass guitar contributes with a layer of heavy, equally complex basslines that support the beforementioned guitar maneuvers by giving more density and clarity. Nothing could sound so energetic without flawlessly executed rhythmic sequences based on detailed beats, accentuations, drum fills, and other percussive acrobatics. Still, the vocal harmonies delivered by a skillful lead singer, back vocals, and singalongs remain a centerpiece of The Bastards Live Forever. Without these vocal segments, this album wouldn’t sound the same. Versus The World invested so much time and ideas in writing, composing, recording, and producing The Bastards Live Forever, and the effort paid off in an album you’ll hold dearly in your record collection. Head to SBAM Records for more information about ordering this gem.