Empty Vessels do that confusing category thing, where you can't tell if they're hardcore punk or something of a metal outfit. And their guitarist is female, which messes up the possibility of baritone gang choruses and awesome macho promo shots with crossed, muscly forearms. They sound heavy and dangerous - aggressive even. But also like they're having fun, and not taking themselves too seriously. They sing about cool metal shit like alien spacecraft, betrayal, owls, and Michael Cera? The whole thing just pisses me off.
The Restraining Order EP is dense with substance that is heavy yet unfamiliar and thrilling. "Saucer Country" has a Motorhead quality, with stuttering to the point riffs. Its evil highway burning vigor yields no uncertainty or passiveness by its performers. "Court of Owls" was when I really fell for Empty Vessels, mostly due to the Atlantic City-esque chord progression that serves as a melodic undertone to a triumphant beat down. The urgent set up borders on the anthemic, where there’s always a fringe of melody to accent hollow distortion. Lyrically, Empty Vessels dwell on token word, with a delivery that ranges from throaty metal-core to an unhinged scream. Passages of spoken word take the wind out of epic or grandiose interludes, so don't expect any soaring breakdowns with angelically clean Bon Jovi clap-alongs. Their always keeping it hairy, which I appreciate.
"Everything's About Michael Cera" unfolds with creeping, down tuned doom-jazz. Restless punk chords ensue, with pure brute taking the place of calculated riffs. Guitar that appeals to the gut rather than the head is the primary attack of Empty Vessels. Their energy is undeniably live sounding, capturing the direct amp-to-listener feel. Restraining Order is much more than some rough demo, or sampler plate. It stands on its own as a solid piece with top notch caliber. This is a triumph for both the Connecticut metal, punk, and Michael Cera scene.