Vision of Disorder are now consistently referenced as veterans in the field of hardcore punk. Whatever you make of that fact, you can’t deny that the band have an undoubtedly powerful hold over what makes the sub-genre the best it can be these days. However, the band’s sluggish work ethic seems to have been very beneficial, because latest album “Razed to the Ground” seems to sound just as fresh as anything VoD released two decades ago.
The first thing you will realize about “Razed to the Ground” is that it shares musical and structural similarities to Armored Saint’s latest effort, “Win Hands Down”. Whilst this is in part due to the excessive amount of experimentation at work here, what really stands out is that both bands simply like to balance the experimentation with that subtle proof they can play their respective sub-genres with bristle expertise. Opener “Heart of Darkness” is a mind-blowing chug through some of VoD’s heaviest guitar patterns, the title track brings vitriol through bilious vocal delivery and the insanity of short bursts of fast-paced energy in “Red on the Walls” is very welcome indeed. The entirety of “Razed to the Ground” is muddied with heavy, sludgy riff-centric passages, but which are also balanced well with that distinctive human sense of harmony-something which the cleanest production or most modern technology just can’t adapt to. Here, the performance has the burgeoning tone drilled into your ears from the get-go.
Now the experimental side of “Razed to the Ground”, as prominent as it is, is both the album’s stark advantage as well as its sorrowful disadvantage. The advantage comes from the brave, unique take on melody and harmony on songs such as the sometimes beautiful “The Craving” and “Nightcrawler”. Elsewhere, the disadvantage rears its ugly head, and it seems to emanate from the fact that the songwriting just isn’t as straightforward as you’d expect. Disappointment has more to do with this than anything else of course, but it means that the experimental patterns seem segregated from the hardcore punk influences all too often, making for a bit of a scatterbrained performance method. The band use this to their advantage in most of the songs, but overall it does seem like a bit of a mess, even if an enjoyable one.
Vision of Disorder have undoubtedly made another career smash hit here, but perhaps only for those who are used to their songwriting and how it is applied to a bilious, vitriolic instrumental setting. “Razed to the Ground” feels fresh in that new ideas are spurned from old, but the experimentation here seems to take over any sustainability which has beforehand made VoD tunes so memorable and accessible. That’s probably not what the band have intended here however, and if they carry on in this surprisingly seductive musical direction in the future, the results will be undeniably better.
Released: November 13 2015
- Heart of Darkness
- Hours in Chaos
- Electric Sky
- Razed to the Ground
- The Craving
- Cut my Teeth
- Red on the Walls
- Severed Wing
- Amurdica: A Culture of Violence