Vault 51 is slowly becoming Atlanta’s best kept secret. The unsigned alternative rock quintet released their debut EP Kid on July 20th. Landon Jones (vocals,) Tom Jepson (guitar/vocals,) Patrick Snyder (guitar,) Alex Garmon (bass,) and Joshua Landry (drums) have persevered many obstacles to get where they are today, but have equally found their strengths. Kid is phenomenal and was well worth the wait. Vault 51 is defining their sound with anthems that are on the brink of alternative rock meets metal.
“Thirty Six” begins this roller coaster with a suspenseful intro as a clock is ticking. Electric guitars slowly sneak in. This is a headbanging track I can see playing in top 40 radio. Jones’ vocals whimsically sing “They’re spending time but it makes no sense at all / wasting our lives on the things we hate the most.” The track is courageous and has both great composition and lyricism, conveying the feelings on taking your life into your own matters. “I’ll put you out / out of your hell / I will.”
The second track “We Don’t Care” starts aggressively with strong, rapid drums and guitars. The title gives the song away, digging into the lyrics “We’ve got nothing to prove / maybe we’re born to lose.” Although, Vault 51 only has everything to lose, and they’re ready to show the world they’re here. There’s a bit of a Korn vibe with the mix of vocals between sweet melodic vocals and intense screams. The slow, mesmerizing chorus does quick switches into fast paced melodies, and it’s such a wonderful blend.
The tempo in “Magnolia” is different from your average rock song, but it will draw you in. The track begins in serenity and overall shows a softer side to the band without sacrificing their hard sound. It’s about silver linings, seeing the beauty when you feel like giving up, and turning your life around when times have become troubled. “Living in a dream with your self medication / running from it all in a dead generation / magnolias begin.”
“Wildfire” is a personal favorite off of Kid, connecting it with my bipolar “stuck in my own head” moments where thoughts spread like wildfire. Not only is there an amazing balance between the soft keys and guitars, but Vault 51 knew when to step off the gas pedal and ease up on the composition. “So my eyes are closed / I’m learning to let go.” Letting go of something toxic is always the hardest part, and the band isn’t afraid to admit, “I’m going to hate you like I always do / So I’m going to break you down / I’m going to break you until you’re wondering / “When will my nightmare end?”
Haunting “Mourning View” fills the air with tension as the deeper guitar tones pluck away with light, airy guitar licks that jump in. Claiming the throne of the ballad on the EP, this track bears the weight of missing someone. I’d be curious to know the inspiration behind this song, but from what I can gather, events from September 11th play a role. “Another day sitting in third grade / …Suddenly three airplanes fly on the TV / Now thirty kids stare at the screen with no understanding.” There’s a feeling that is sent to the pit of my stomach as Jones’ vocals cry out “I think I miss you / I do.”
Final track “Sincerely Me” is by far the heaviest on the EP. Landry’s rapid bass drum fight against the hollowed vocals. By the second verse, the track transforms into a hardcore dance track as the tone changes with bubbly synths. Only a slice is delivered before transforming back into the hardcore track. Vault 51 shows an unapologetic side as the front-men sing “I know you refuse to believe / I am sincerely me.”
It’s without hesitation to give Kid a five-star rating. Kid is an EP I could have on from start to finish and on repeat all day. I haven’t found any new music I’ve been this drawn to in a while.
FFO: Breaking Benjamin, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Linkin Park, Thirty Seconds To Mars.