EP Review: DREAMS OF VERTIGO – “Reject University, Part Two: From Six 2 Midnight”

Dreams of Vertigo is a Southern California rock band with a sense of humor. Their Twitter bio states “We play music, we are anti pay to play, we write music that you can relate to because #weareallrejects.” And in their Facebook bio, they explain that their band “started with an idea…that recent music just isn’t up to par with the high standards of the average music listener (haha).”  Based in Orange County, the band formed in 2012, and they play music that draws from numerous rock influences ranging from Green Day and Blink-182, to the harder sounds of Avenged Sevenfold. Making the music are Doug Ferguson on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Gonz Wolfy on bass and backing vocals, Jay Bear on lead guitar and backing vocals, and Brandon Betts on drums.

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In October, the band released a six-song EP Reject University, Part Two: From Six 2 Midnight, which is a follow up to their excellent 2014 EP Reject University, Part One: Freshman 15. Are those great EP titles or what! Going with the theme, the EP opens with a 35-second intro that features a woman at a school assembly welcoming students to Reject University, then we’re hit with an onslaught of heavy guitars that immediately segue to the terrific hard-driving first track “One False Move.” Rapid-fire riffs of shredded, swirling and distorted guitars are accompanied by heavy bass and pummeling drums, all serving to pump up the adrenaline. The guys’ vocals are aggressive yet harmonic as they sing of lies and deceit: “So take back your lies / I’ll never sign or be a part / Of all your schemes and all your dreams for one night.” This is a great song.

Escaping a doomed relationship is the subject of the catchy, high-energy “Facade.” “And here’s the tragic part, we worked so fucking hard /  I lost the fight but won the war, you’re all alone. And no one cares, your selfish words they cut right through.”  This great track has a Blink-182 vibe, with fast-paced guitar riffs overlying a thumping bass line and propelled forward by hammering drums. The track features guest vocals by Tony Lovato, lead singer for the punk-rock band Mest.  The pleasing third track “If I Ever” takes a mellower tone, with gentle guitars and percussion. Ferguson’s vocals on this song remind me of pop-rock singer Duncan Shiek.

The most dramatic track on the EP is “An (Un)Easy Goodbye,” a hard rock song about depression and thoughts of suicide. “I’m the rejected, the painfully neglected. My world is a war zone. Normalcy is washed out to sea, and swallowed up by the waves. Take away the poison plaguing me.” Gnashing, discordant guitars, set to a hard-driving beat with aggressive percussion and Ferguson’s raw, imploring vocals, successfully convey the sense of chaos the band is wanting to achieve in this song. The complex guitar riffs are really outstanding. The powerful video portrays the band members acting out their internal struggles with demons and suicidal thoughts while performing the song.

The hard-hitting “Underneath the X” offers up more great rapid-fire shredded guitars and strong drums. The lyrics speak to overcoming past mistakes and self-doubt that keep holding you back: “There’s a fortune I’ve been told, underneath the X. If I keep on digging deep enough, I’ll be buried with the rest.” The final track “Girls Night Out” is a raucous ode to girls gone wild. Beginning with the sound of a woman asking how her hair looks, the song breaks open with furious guitars, pummeling drums and lots of crashing cymbals. Gonz Wolfy sings “Seven, eight, nine shots, emotions are rising, rumors are spreading, and now the girls are fighting / Amy spills her drink all over Kelly. Hailey’s pulling hair off of Stacy.” Halfway through the track, hilarious voice overs of women gossiping are heard. “She is a whore. I love your dress. I seen her with John last week. Oh, that bitch is crazy.  That bitch. She is a total slut.” Such fun!

To sum up, this is a great EP with lots of energy and awesome guitar riffs that kick ass! Show Dreams of Vertigo some support by following them on Twitter,  Facebook  and Instagram. Subscribe to their YouTube channel, and stream their music on Spotify and Soundcloud. Their music may be purchased on iTunes.

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