Raunchy – Vices.Virtues.Visions (Massacre Records)Sunday, 23rd November 2014
Raunchy has always been one of those bands that despite their seemingly more “modern” sound, never managed to break through to a larger audience. One has to wonder why, with their sound still quite aptly described by their third album Death Pop Romance. Time has done little to alter the dynamic of using keyboard/electronic intensive melodic death metal turned pop and industrial, until vocalist Kasper Thomson’s departure last year. Now acquiring new singer Mike Semesky (Intervals), how much impact could it have right?
Turns out, injecting a bit of new blood into the Raunchy formula is just what the band needed. While the Raunchy mechanic still reigns (as described above), there does seem to be some fresh energy that had been lacking from their last release (2010’s A Discord Electric). Semesky has the necessary vocal range to justly capture the heavier, deathly moments yet his soaring cleans are utterly addictive. Look no further than the opening evidence in “Eyes of a Storm” if you need proof (what a chorus!). The band does flirt with the mainstream a bit more, with “Luxuria” having one of the most noticeably pop/rock structures Raunchy has attempted but it works. Along the lines with the new Amaranthe, Raunchy’s not redesigning their dynamic so much as embracing both extremes. At the other end, we have “Anasthesia Throne” and “Never Enough,” which have some of the most aggressive stuff the band has done in recent memory. Also worthy of note are the keys, which jump from dance-y to grandiose to futuristic as the music requires and maintain a large presence without drowning all the guitar out.
Raunchy is at their best when they balance the extremity in their music (in both the death and pop sense). Vices.Virtues.Visions does this in spades, and just might be the best work the band has done since Death Pop Romance. Six albums in is a bit far to expect a total breakthrough, but one hopes that Raunchy picks up some new fans with this one. A delicate balance of heavy and emotion, this is what melodic metal is all about.