Album Review :
Of Violence & Vanity - To Trust a Traitor

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Artist: Of Violence & Vanity
Album: To Trust a Traitor
Label: Vitalis Artist Group
Release Date: August 25, 2009
Review by: Michael Mayer III


  1. Fold
  2. To Trust a Traitor
  3. Hell Over Heels
  4. A Great Performer
  5. Living a Slow Death
  6. You & Yourself
  7. Final Words
  8. Want & Take
  9. You’re Free
  10. Lonely Throne

Meet Of Violence & Vanity, a project of Daniel Huddleston, a guitarist in the band Falling Up. That being said, don’t expect To Trust a Traitor to sound anything like Falling Up. The song writing is more along the lines of progressive rock minus the 7+ minute long songs that are a typical staple of the genre. Daniel recorded everything heard here, except for the drums (those are done by Caleb Benadict), and what he came up with is pretty impressive for a near one-man show. Mostly when you hear of one man doing everything you don’t get these types of complicated songs with many different textures.

There are a few things that I really love on this album. One of them is the catchy riffs, that show up in more than a few songs, and the other is the smart use of guitar solos. The lead track “Fold” comes to mind with the impressive solo placed at the right spot and it felt anything but tacked on. The solos and guitar work have a progressive rock 70’s-style feel to them and I’ll be the first one to admit I’m a sucker for that sound if done right. “Hell Over Heels” is another standout track made strong by its chorus and guitars that constantly change and build up the song to its climax, while “A Great Performer” has an addictive riff that quickly stuck in my head after a couple listens. “Want & Take” is backed by a fantastic beat that meshes perfectly with Daniel’s guitar riffs and his impressive vocals.

Speaking of those vocals, they may take some time to get used to. At least they did for me, but once they grew on me it opened up the album to be a whole lot more enjoyable. Sometimes his choice of melodies made me cringe or were just plain weak, but at others, like the aforementioned “Want & Take”, it was spot on and showed his great range. The best comparison I can use is he sounds somewhat like the lead vocalist from Coheed & Cambria. That’s certainly a good start when it comes to this brand of music. I was also surprised to find he used his voice as backing vocals often and it worked perfectly layered behind his own voice. Despite his great range vocally, every song is made or broken by the type of melody he chose to use. If the hook wasn’t strong the song struggled to make any sort of an impact beyond being background music.

Overall: I was impressed that Daniel managed to create To Trust a Traitor and make it sound like a full band recorded it. That’s no small task and aside from the last track being an acoustic song everything here is brimming with energy and complexity. And yet, great technical ability aside, he could’ve used either stronger vocal hooks or maybe a different approach altogether to keep the whole album flowing consistently. I would be curious to hear what he could come up with if he had a full band behind him and could spend more energy on the weak spots. That’s neither here or there, though, as what we have right now is what matters. To Trust a Traitor is worth picking up if you love your guitars as the focus and want something a bit different from the normal song structures of pop music.

Gems of this album are: ‘Want & Take’, ‘Head Over Heels’, ‘Fold’, ‘A Great Performer’