Path of Least Resistance (Devine MusiC)
By: Jake Beamer
The Path of Least Resistance, a new release by the band now known as Virgos. To properly understand the band and the music, I must first give a little background information on their previous incarnation, Virgos Merlot.
Virgos Merlot started out as vocalist/guitarist Brett Hestla, guitarist Deacon Ted Ledbetter, third guitarist Marchant (he provided a lot of the ambience), bassist Chris Dickerson and drummer JD Charlton. In 1999, Virgos Merlot released what should have been a revolutionary album entitled Signs of a Vacant Soul. It's almost a concept album, all the songs are totally amazing, like nothing you've ever heard.
There were several singles from this album ("Gain" or "Kiss My Disease" you may have heard on rock radio) but the album never garnered the appreciation it should have, save for underground masses of fans. Perhaps it was their label (then, Atlantic) or some other factor like their appearance (dark, with vampiric contact lenses). But regardless, the album is an oft-overlooked rock staple.
When I first saw Virgos, I was shocked at how down-to-earth these guys are, they signed an album for me. But besides that, they rocked the house down that night, opening for Fuel (alongside Canada natives Finger Eleven). So their live show was already riveting. I saw them two more times as Virgos Merlot, before Marchant decided to leave the band.
So Brett and company decided to keep going, first trying to change their name to what Virgos Merlot was previously known as, The Devine. But problems ensued, and the band finally settled on the moniker of simply Virgos. So, some time passed, Virgos played a number of shows debuting new material, and Brett filled in some tour dates for the bassist of Creed when Brian Marshall (Creeds original bassist) left.
Interesting stuff. But what's even better is Virgos' great comeback, self-releasing The POLR this year under their Devine Music label. The album has been available so far only on their website (http://www.virgos.cc), with the first people to order also receiving the Collapse EP (which includes two extra non-LP songs) due to the full album's delayed release.
When I finally got my order in, I was pleased with The POLR. It had all the grit and rock of the first album, and continued great songwriting. Plus, Brett Hestla's voice is a truly awesome thing to behold. I mean, the guy can SING. Really sing, like few can anymore. The first track "Collapse" is just amazing in itself. Dynamic, melodic and tight. Following that comes "Good Times", "Silence", "Back To You", "Ammunition" and more. "Drown" was an old favorite of mine. But I am also partial to the dynamics and range of "Next Time" - the bridge is just fantastic. Plus piano is added!
OK, so I know Virgos are friends with Creed, but in my opinion, Virgos blows the latter off the map. Riffs, melodies and hooks galore! It's not even a comparison. And Creed is the arena band. But Virgos has been opening for them on tour, I guess that's something. Currently, the album is out of stock on the website yet again. Release it to the public, guys! That's all I have to say about it. Hear it, it's worth picking up. And right now it's a collector's item! Probably one of the best rock albums of the year.