Vision of Disorder – Razed to the Ground (Candlelight Records)

Thursday, 12th November 2015
Rating: 8/10

Having ascended to elder-statesmen of hardcore status, Long Island’s Vision of Disorder are without much to prove these days, outside of whatever motivation the band has to keep going. Even though they never climbed to the top hardcore rung ala Hatebreed or Terror, there’s something to be said for VOD’s jolting, occasionally alternative delivery in that these guys never had to bow down to beatdown pressure; they’ve always traversed their own path. Off the heels of their successful 2012 comeback The Cursed Remain Cursed, VOD is back with an even better album, Razed to the Ground.

Produced by the always-in-demand Zeus (he of Demon Hunter, Shadows Fall, and more recent, Queensryche fame), Razed to the Ground is very much a demonstrative metallic effort. The band’s cascading, unconventional riffs (long their strong point) have suitable, if not a throttling amount of influence across several of these tunes – “Heart of Darkness” and the crunchy title track come to mind. The in-and-out melodic guitar lines woven get their time in on “Craving,” which could be the album’s best cut, as it’s upheld nicely by vocalist Tim Williams. And Williams proves he’s still one of the more unsung hardcore “singers,” a term not used loosely. He’s capable of traditional throat-screeches, but it’s often his sung vocals that do the trick, like on the aforementioned “Craving,” or “Severed Wing.”

Perhaps still best remembered as a band who was unfortunately buried on Roadrunner Records’ late 90s roster, Vision of Disorder have managed to outpace their critics while staying in line with the demands of the hardcore scene. But again, the hardcore tag just feels so limiting for these guys. Razed to the Ground is the type of album that many of the band’s contemporaries couldn’t make if they spent years trying. If that’s not a true indicator of VOD’s value, than what is?

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