By James Florence
Zombies, sharks, witch hunts, total global meltdown—these name a few of the catastrophic scenarios depicted in Embrace the Horror, the aptly titled new album from North Bay power-metal outfit In Virtue. Both disturbing and epic, it's just the thing to get listeners into the "end of days" spirit.
The brainchild of front man Trey Xavier, graduate of the SSU music program and instructor at Napa School of Music, Embrace the Horror is not your dad's metal album: iron-clad guitars and atmospheric synthesizers intermingle with orchestral strings and choral arrangements, while lead vocalist Ms. C's robust melodies complement Xavier's deathly growls like an aged wine complements a bloody steak. This is metal as composition, bearing closer resemblance to Mozart than Metallica.
An element of unpredictability is at the core of In Virtue's sound; at any moment, the listener may be vaulted headlong into a bluegrass hootenanny or a somber Latin dirge. The most grin-inducing of such ventures occurs in "Cataclysmic Shock," when an a cappella choir gaily proclaims, "Hallelujah, it's a firestorm!" in response to the imminent destruction of Earth. It may seem grim, but with In Virtue, the apocalypse was never so much fun. So at the advent of 2012, sit back, relax and embrace the horror when In Virtue play Friday, Sept. 16, at the Phoenix Theater. 201 E. Washington St., Petaluma. 8pm. $8. 707.762.3565.