Florida-based Poison The Well were among the few hard-core/metal bands who made the descent to a major label, signing with Atlantic Records in 2002. While to some that maybe the Holy Grail, PTW found it cumbersome to become the radio-friendly band the label wanted. Never quite a staple in Atlantic Records’ arsenal of bands, they sought to be released from their contract and venture elsewhere. They finally made their home with New Jersey-based Ferret Records in late 2006.
They continued with plans to again record out in Sweden with noted producers Pelle Henricsson and Eskil Lovstro (Refused) and the result is Versions, a stunning collective of heavy resonance that sounds like a nervous breakdown out in a field.
The opening track “Letter Thing” begins with the unrelenting hard-core they are known for but easily makes the transition into a slide-guitar laden chorus that brings out a twang-like beauty amidst vocalist Jeffrey Moreira’s gut-wrenching screams. “Nagaina” has a Fugazi-like quality vocally while the music keeps a simple and steady course.
The remaining tracks on this record exhibit an obvious attempt to go even further than what was started on You Come Before You. The different instrumentation, such as banjos and horns are balanced out among the prog and doom-like tendencies and frantic vocals that make Versions such a diverse yet organic recording. Henricsson and Lovstro touch of many of the same textures that made The Shape Of Punk to Come such a pivotal and influential record to many.
Maybe we need more bands to go out in the desolate Swedish countryside, limit their exposure to the sun and see what the outcome will be. It worked for Refused and now it's working for Poison The Well.