Times have surely been trying for Poison The Well. In the years that have passed since their 2003 release, "You Come Before You", the band not only lost key members and escaped the major label meat grinder; but also saw the style of music they helped to pioneer get homogenized, digested and shit out by about 8000 other bands. Luckily enough, adversity is a great motivator and despite recording this album as a trio, Poison The Well have just raised the bar for not only themselves - but also the leagues of mascara-clad imitators.
For you see, while the metalcore stalwarts have been busy investing in torn up denim jackets and old cassette bootlegs of Iron Maiden and Metallica to try to revitalize their craft; Poison The Well have instead discovered the untapped resource, the one genre no other band with a distortion pedal was bold enough to plunder. Yes ladies and gentlemen, country and metal are now finally on the same page. No, not southern rock, country. But while this may sound like a train wreck on paper, the authentic nature of which Poison The Well incorporate slide guitar and even banjo and horns into their craft is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
In fact, this unlikely combo turns out to be utterly riveting with a dynamic contrast that sounds fresh and revelatory. It also doesn't hurt that nearly everything about the band has been amplified and organically strengthened. The vocals, while still bent on melody-laden screams, follow an unpredictably winding path. The guitars careen into gnarled riffs andsoar with haunting slides and stirring harmonics. Looming bass lines and snappy drums complete the rhythm section and through it all the band sidestep the cliche incarnations.
It's not indie folk or bullshit country rock, If anything it's more like the ghost of old Johnny Cash adding some color and ambiance to a reinvigorated melodic metal band who just threw out the rulebook. Stirring, soulful and sounding entirely from the heart, "Versions" is to metalcore in 2007 what Refused's "The Shape Of Punk To Come" was to nu-metal back in 1998. Let the clone wars begin.
(5 / 5)