Eric Val, the 26 year old Pennsylvania native, has released his first album, 3 Year Struggle. He discovered his passion for singing in high school after an injury kept him from sports. He dabbled in guitar playing and it was after being with a band before he realized he preferred singing and the ability to have full control over his sound, and subsequently went solo.
His influences include Stone Sour, Seether, Godsmack, and Sevendust, so I already had a hint of what type of music I’d be hearing. The “diverse singer with a hard rock edge,” as Val’s been called, has had classical voice training and is also a distant cousin of Elvis Presley, so I had pretty high expectations going into the album. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.
Right off the bat, in “High Above You,” Val’s vocals are off with timing and pitch. The music is nice, almost reminding me of Hinder’s “Lips of an Angel” in theme, but less hardcore. Next track, “Pull Me Under” is easily the best track on the album. The composition and layering of vocals makes the offbeat counts interesting and easy to listen to.
“Eyes Of Man” is probably the most hard rock musically on 3 Year Struggle. Its gritty guitar licks and hard pumping drums are awesome. The ending solo and beginning rock of “Sympathy” are great. I hate to admit that when the vocals came in, though, I wasn’t so adamant to listen.
Some of the lyrics are very elementary. In “Miss You Everyday,” Val sings:
I look at this picture of you/And it reminds me of everything about you/ I lost you so long ago/ And I know I can never get you back/So I’ll sing this song for you/Like everyone I’ve loved/I can never explain how I feel/Until it’s too late.
Now, don’t get me wrong, many songs with simple lyrics can be quite enjoyable (i.e. some songs by The Beatles). But there has to be that hook, musically, or at least very enjoyable vocals. Neither are present here. “Face” is seemingly a song about suicide, but there are no emotions behind the voice to reflect the feelings the song is about.
The musical aspect of this album is great. However, Val needs to work on his vocals. They are flat and out of tune - not everywhere - but enough to make me not want to listen to 3 Year Struggle on a regular basis. He definitely has potential, you can hear that on certain songs, and I’m sure with that, all of his hard work will pay off through stronger vocals on the next album.
Ratings: 2.5 for vocals/lyrics - 4.5 for musical components – 3 Overall
Key Tracks: Pull Me Under, Eyes of Man, Yesterday
September 19, 2012