Vader (Death Metal)
Necropolis (2/4)- 2009
Vader may be death metal legends, but simply being Vader is not enough to earn them a pass. Necropolis is an uninspired album that sounds far too similar to their past work to be worthwhile to anyone who is looking for more than just another generic Vader album. Obviously, the music is still solid, but it’s all been done before and done better.
Vampire Weekend (Alternative/Indie Rock)
Vampire Weekend (2.5/4)- 2008
There’s nothing particularly wrong with Vampire Weekend’s self-titled debut, but it just doesn’t do enough to earn a recommendation. It’s fun and harmless, but also fairly derivative and all too forgettable.
Velvet Revolver (Hard Rock)
Contraband (2.5/4)- 2004
Velvet Revolver’s status as a supergroup has much more to do with the band’s star power (namely Slash and STP’s Scott Weiland) than the members’ actual talent, but their debut sounds far less forced than that of most supergroups. Granted, it’s nothing spectacular, but the band members play off each others’ strengths, combining Slash’s talent for writing catchy and memorable riffs with Weiland’s rough vocals. It works, and it’s better than anything Guns N Roses or Stone Temple Pilots have done in over a decade.
Libertad (2/4)- 2007
“She Builds Quick Machines” is a legitimately solid song. The rest of the album is just more of the same from Velvet Revolver, only it’s a lot less interesting this time around.
Viktor Vaughn (Rap/Hip-Hop)
Vaudeville Villain (4/4)- 2003
One of the many alter-egos of MF DOOM, Viktor Vaughn is one the rapper’s most impressive projects. Vaudeville Villain shows a faster side of DOOM’s flow, as well as some of his most ingenious lyrical moments and even the occasional conscious track. There is a concept here, but it’s incoherency is part of DOOM’s charm, and it’s probably best not to try to follow the story. This is just a great hip-hop throughout, and it’s one of many standout moments in MF DOOM’s career.
Vintersorg (Folk/Black Metal)
Solens Rötter (3.5/4)- 2007
Solens Rötter is certainly an odd album to say the least. Andreas Hedlund and Mattias Marklund have shown once again that they are one of the best duos in metal today, and it’s safe to say that their music deserves to be in the collection of any fan of folk metal, black metal, progressive metal, or any type of European metal. As previously mentioned, the combination will mostly likely sound odd to newcomers, and the Swedish lyrics won’t do anything to help that, but fans of the band and genres they mix would do well to give this one a consideration. The combination of folk, black, and prog metal is as heavy as one would expect, but its Vintersorg’s beauty that really allows Solens Rötter to reach greatness. This is easily one of the best folk metal albums of the year, and it’s in no way a stretch to call it one of the overall best metal albums of the year either.
Virgin Black (Gothic/Doom Metal)
Requiem – Fortissimo (3/4)- 2008
Fortissimo is the second album in Virgin Black’s Requiem trilogy, and it had a lot to live up to. 2007’s Mezzo Forte was a somewhat overlooked masterpiece that established Virgin Black as an elite metal band. It was an album that was as good as any goth metal album out there, and also one of the most unique and beautiful metal offerings released in some time. Fortissimo is another beautifully unique album from Virgin Black, but it’s also a moderate step down from Mezzo Forte. The sequel is a heavier album that features more growling and less classical influences, and in doing so is much closer to a typical doom metal album. Regardless, Requiem- Fortissimo is a great album, and is worth picking alongside the essential Mezzo Forte.
Visions of Atlantis (Symphonic Metal)
Eternal Endless Infinity (2/4)- 2002
The original version of this album is almost unlistenable due to its awful production. The 2004 re-issue mostly fixes that, but Eternal Endless Infinity is still nothing more than a standard symphonic metal album. While bands like Nightwish and After Forever take their influences directly from classical music, Visions of Atlantis’ influences all seem to come from established symphonic metal bands. They pull it off competently, but their sound has been done far better elsewhere.
Trinity (2.5/4)- 2007
While Visions of Atlantis still aren’t ready to compete with the elites of symphonic metal, Trinity is a huge step forward towards becoming relevant in the genre. Just about everything has been vastly improved upon, and this time the production isn’t complete garbage. Again, Trinity isn’t anything revolutionary, but symphonic metal fans might want to take notice. Visions of Atlantis are a talented band, and this is easily their best album to date.