You might have heard this one before. The guitarist channels his emotive heroes while the rhythm section pounds with aggression and class. They start out rocking hard, proudly displaying their harder influences -- maybe Budgie, Fugazi or Mission of Burma. But faster than you can say "Yoko Ono," the female lead singer takes the wheel, steering the rock-and-roll bumper car straight toward the Lilith fairgrounds. If the Sundays were into Metallica, or if Audioslave had chosen Natalie Merchant over Chris Cornell, the result might have sounded something like Kansas City's Vedera (formerly known as Veda). Kristen May's gigantic, angelic voice soars and dips fantastically, while Brian Little's guitar trembles, wails and stutters. Sound familiar? It is, but Vedera does it better than the Gathering or -- God forbid -- Evanescence. The act's passion and sincerity never quite reach Denali's peaks, but Vedera frequently morphs this blueprint effectively enough to make the familiar sound fresh.
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