There are plenty of iconic tag lines, such as “Great Trilogies Come In Threes” from SCARY MOVIE 3...”T’was The Night Before Christmas, And All Through The House, Not A Creature Was Stirring...They Were All Dead” from DON’T OPEN TILL’ CHRISTMAS, or my new personal favourite, “Unwittingly, He Trained A Dolphin To Kill The President Of The United States” from 1973’s THE DAY OF THE DOLPHIN...apparently that’s a thing which I now need to see. Sometimes however, there is absolutely no salvation...and appropriately for this segue I’m going to borrow a line from 2010’s A SERBIAN FILM, as I emphasise that, not all films, or in this case, reviews, have a happy ending.
Let me introduce you to VOID INN; formed in California by vocalist Jelena Vujanovic and guitarist Sinisa Pejovic, following studies at the Hollywood Music Institute, they now reside in Belgrade, Serbia, and got in touch with me at the beginning of the year to tell me about their latest album “End This Game”. According to the bio that accompanied their email request, their sound can be summed up as powered by fierce riffs, odd meters, virtuoso guitar parts and a large range of unique vocal tones...and it’s that last bit that frightens me. Let’s press play and see if “End This Game” will just have me wanting to end my own life...
We open up with “Stay Young” and the initial surge of riffs, guitar licks and percussion is encouraging...it takes on a predominantly harder rock, thrash-esque sound with the tracks general tone and instrumental delivery. It borrows from the likes of METALLICA as well as slower, darker genres for a very heavy methodical approach. Vocally however...imagine James Hetfield somehow managed to sound flat while being out of every key simultaneously, and was a woman. That last bit is irrelevant to the quality, purely descriptive, but yeah. There is potential in Jelena’s raspy vocal snarls when she does unleash, more like Alexi Laiho may he rest in peace, but other than that, this raises red flags. “Dead Of Night” only highlights this issue...as the fluctuation between the aggressive vocal snarls and the cleaner singing is more frequent, and those snarls really show up Jelena’s lack of real range.
The title track slots itself in halfway through this mini album as if it were a sentient compilation of tracks...the album wants to end itself prematurely and really that says everything you need to know. Even Jigsaw would want nothing to do with this game. I can see him now, peddling the fuck out of his little tricycle trying to get away. Musically, before I get carried away, it’s more of the same. Moving on. “Just Another Day” starts off really quite quaintly with some softly plucked guitar notes, but it progressively gets darker, channelling certain BLACK SABBATH influences, until those riffs burst through the door kicking the track into gear. Sadly, because of the accompanying vocals, that gear is reverse. “Show Me What You Got” instantly takes my mind to RICK ‘N’ MORTY and that interplanetary song contest episode, and it’s safe to say by comparison, Void Inn are severely lacking in schwifty, before we finally then close proceedings with “Hello Misery”, and, that frankly perfectly sums up the feeling taken away from this record.
While I can appreciate the quality of musicianship here (It’s a decent enough dose of hard rock and metal instrumentation, nothing too flash or fancy, straightforward and effective) it’s another case of a record being let down by the vocals. Now I’m not sure if Jelena was trying too hard and just came across like, a stereotypical parody of your typically gruff, rock and metal vocalists, or if she genuinely thinks that this sounds good. End this game? End this album please, and AVOID Inn.