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In Virgo [reviews]
Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz | Detailed or mini-review submissions: song, EP/album | Suggest an artist | Music Xray sign up
In Virgo - In Virgo |self-released, 2015|

1. Set Me Free, 2. The Light At the End, 3. The Chosen, 4. Lost All Of You, 5. The Poison, 6. Breaking Apart, 7. Public Enemy, 8. Bully The Few, 9. Revolution, 10. Colors, 11. Exposed, 12. Part Of Me

It's quite common in the music industry to find a guitar-driven album holding between one and four hit songs. In Virgo's release however may be a breakthrough in that category, since almost every of the 12 tracks present here has the potential to be a hit.
Chris Egert (guitar/synth/programming) has already proved his songwriting skills through making catchy music for his past project Replica. He then joined an electro/rock band September Mourning a few years later. The singer, Emily Lazar worked together with Chris, and also a little with Chris Vrenna (Nine Inch Nails) and Dave "Rave" Ogilvie (Skinny Puppy), leading to the Melancholia album released in Europe in 2012. While we’re talking collaborations, In Virgo's tunes are enriched with clear and metal-orientated voice of Chris Hodges, who definitely sounds fitting.

"Set Me Free" opens the tracklist with a gentle piano arrangement which is then joined by a dynamic fusion of edgy guitars, drums and metalcore vocals. There are guitar rock solos, the bass sounds thick, and every tune fits into the place perfectly. The lyrics here, and in other compositions on the album, refer to breaking from restrictions - and that can mean a break-up, a suicide attempt, opposing bullying, but also awakening to something new or an emotional detox.

"The Light At the End" brings a buzz of dynamics thanks to a tight mix of the guitar-bass-drums combo and rebellious, slightly raspy vocals. The track sounds catchy from the beginning to the very end and the choruses are going to etch themselves in your memory pretty easily. Such attributes make it a smashing hit to be performed live in front of a bigger audience.

The pace slows with the arrival of "The Chosen". The song's mood feels a bit darker than in the first two compositions. A bit more light shines through the choruses, however. As the song’s lyrics develop, a line of standing out vocals casts a feel of courage as indeed, anybody feeling as a 'chosen one' would be expected to express. Amazingly well written arrangements make this track a must-listen. Fans of Filter will dig "The Chosen" right away.

"Lost All Of You" begins with the sound of an unplugged guitar and catchy choirs, as if to avoid a repetition of intro techniques. It then develops into an alt-rock composition by bringing broad, uplifting choruses. My guess is that it was written to flow with sounds of many new and liked bands of the aforementioned genre. Yet there's no copycatting - it’s just In Virgo's original song writing enriched with the by now ‘usual’ edgy guitars. A lively and gentle guitar tune finishes the song, making its end a smooth match with the song's beginning, inviting to a looped listening.

A different vibe is utilized for "The Poison", which is kept in the vein of drum'n'bass thanks to phat and bubbly synths. There are, however, softer vocals used on the top of all the electronica. These can speak for Hodges' talent - his voice sounds at times rebelling, then velvety - and always adjusted to any song's mood. Since "The Poison" is one of tracks bringing slower tempo to the album, you can catch a breath before the high energy returns.

"Breaking Apart" will definitely please Filter’s fans, but they will not be the only ones enjoying it. Aside from bringing a familiar groove and melody, the song is vibrant to the point of spawning images of a fast-pace music video accompanying the track in your head. It has moments of drama, followed by the release of all the gathered-up tension. The drums and bass collaborate nicely here, keeping the dynamics steady. The vocals also comfortably appear as planned along all the instrumental parts, making the whole composition of "Breaking Apart" a prime example of great songwriting. Listeners who prefer heavier tunes get an exciting wall of sound, spiced up with aggressive vocals near the end of the song. Big applause to Chris Egert for the spreading of a harmonious mix of both electronic and guitar driven arrangements.

Next, we have "Public Enemy" with its vibrating, graded guitar riffs and a rebellious, marching vibe. The song moves from aggressive to melodic (and back again), especially in choruses. Through this track, In Virgo proves that a balanced composition needs to keep vocals at bay when there's a good moment to bring up instrumental parts only (and vice versa). Yet another great live show song.

As the title implies, "Bully The Few" touches on the very hot and relevant topic of bullying and speaks about breaking away from your enemies to honor your personal human freedom. It brings an equal portion of synths and guitars along with aggressive vocals and powerful dynamics. Yet again, In Virgo gives you a lesson in how to end a track properly.

"Revolution" comes with a slower tempo than its predecessors, but remains energetic thanks to the edgy guitar riffs. Its overall tune is softer, gives a hopeful feel, and could swap the vocals for female ones. Yet another track on the album good enough to be supported by a music video, as it brings a lively set of images to your mind while listening. While the synths put more 'air' and build up a space within the tune, the guitars, bass, and drums keep the entire composition properly grounded.

"Colors", on the other hand, is opened very lightly, with electronic samples. An effusion of guitar riffs follow next bringing a completely different 'color' to the palette of available sounds, including both brighter and darker shades. The riffs here sound dirty at times, while the drums are exposed. The song's mood is positive and uplifting though, with wide-open straightforward and repeating vocal parts make it a highly memorable hit song.

The theme of "Exposed" refers to dropping a mask without fear and living one's life in peace with the authentic self. The composition begins with a delicate tone which is then surrounded by a groovy, interlaced line built upon bass, drums, and guitars. Again, Chris Hodges presents his full voice range and you should be able to tell by now that he's a talented and definitely well trained singer. In addition, tiny choral elements in the background bring an “easy listening” feel to the track.

The album finishes on the peaceful note with yet another mild song. "Part of Me" offers a blend of modern rock sounds and therefore is a perfect track to be aired on the radio. The vocals and guitars are strongly accented but not pushy at all. They both flow smoothly, supported by matching drums and bass lines. "Part of Me" also calls for providing a suitable video for promotional purposes. Finally, if you listen closely to the lyrics, you may find traces of romantic poetry expressed through lines such as "I traded a photograph for sand and blue sky / It fades when the light falls short of your eyes when you cry".

Every composition on this album recalls a full circle - an entirely complete piece of art with extremely well written arrangements and compositions, professionally mixed, mastered, and produced. The tracklist order is set to gradually shift the listeners’ mood and attention for the ultimate listening experience. Fans of industrial rock, alt-rock, metalcore and those in love with Dope, Filter, the 90s Nine Inch Nails or even Celldweller will not be disappointed - but by no means should the audience for this album be limited to those groups. All the tracks could easily find their way to TV, movies or ads through licensing. They are equally promising for powerful live performances or intimate private listening sessions. The LA-based duo distribute their debut album in tune with a revolutionary new business model - you can either download music files for free or buy them. This should guarantee the In Virgo album reaches as many listeners as possible. Make sure you give it a try as soon as you finish reading this.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, April 9th, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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