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Beginnings

Memento

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Album Review

On "Nothing Sacred," the opening track of its debut album, Beginnings, Memento comes across as a standard-issue contemporary heavy metal band circa the early 21st century, with the sledge-hammer drumming of Steve Clark overlaid by the thunderous bass playing of Lats and guitarist Space's big riffs, all to support lead singer Justin Cotta's inflamed vocal performance of typically enraged lyrical sentiments. As the album goes on, however, more subtle elements emerge. For one thing, Memento is more concerned with melody than many of its peers, at least to the extent of constructing powerful choruses and using background vocals to create hooks. In fact, the album becomes more musically diverse as it goes along, having established the band's metal bona fides at the outset; Cotta contributes some good solo piano work here and there, and there are even string charts on three tracks. And while anger, sometimes expressed in explicit terms, is at the core of Cotta's lyrics, there is also an important spiritual aspect to his words. On "Saviour," one of the better songs, there is even a backhanded statement of faith. Cotta's lyrics are a bit too vague and clichéd to provide a clear picture of what he's getting at, but there is definitely a lot of Christian imagery and, seemingly, a religious quest in there somewhere, along with all the rage. That helps lift Beginnings above many of the cookie-cutter metal albums on the market with it, and it makes it a debut album that augurs well for the future. [The CD's multimedia content includes suitably intense performance videos of "Nothing Sacred" and "Coming." Beginnings is also available in a clean version.]

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

As bandmembers for rock artist V.A.S.T. (a pseudonym for musician Jon Crosby), Australian Justin Stewart Cotta and American Steve Clark were playing large clubs and traveling in a million-dollar tour bus when they decided to leave it behind. They spent three and a half years as full-time members of V.A.S.T.'s band — playing on records, playing live shows — but were unable to contribute creatively and be credited. "It was cool but that's exactly why we left. When you're a supposed hired...
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Beginnings, Memento
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