VICES – Now That I Have Seen I Am Responsible
Released: 17th March 2017
VICES Line up:
John McAleer | Vocals
Jake Forrest |Guitar
Calum Waldergrave |Guitar
Marcus Tamp | Drums
Jai Curtis | Bass
Despite the hardcore genre largely focusing on lyrics by addressing the problems in our world, there are still bands that manage to inject their tunes with quality talent. Pile 5 well-rehearsed musicians, a deep-fried bucket of distortion, religious debates, social and mental issues, the government, angst and no cap for volume into a studio and you’ll be well on your way to cooking up an album as good as Now That I Have Seen I Am Responsible.
Released on the 17th of March by Resist Records, VICES have offered, in classic hardcore form, a no-jargon introduction before slamming into the first track ‘Species.’ There is no time to lose in any of their songs with the longest of the 13 track album clocking off at 2:38. ‘Species’ spits rage at our race for exercising our ability to be brutally self-centred and inconsiderate. Despite the messages of each song coming across in relatively short periods of time, it’s hard not to miss the point with vocalist John McAleer screaming with inhumane energy directly into your soul. Fast, loud, boiling aggression and screams of blood; VICES have picked a powerful song to kick off the album.
Thirteen songs of hate filled violence can attract the trap of repetition if not handled carefully. Good thing the boys have included some heart punching harmonies and melodic movement from the guitars to hit emotions in songs like ‘Wither // Collapse’ and ‘Alone.’ Featuring a sprinkle of modern post-hardcore, ‘Alone’ shows the group are happy to take a pinch of related genres to maintain some fresh ideas in the album. The song also pleases that love everyone has for a chunky bass tone that kicks ass when the guitars take a breather. Of course not all of the songs let us focus on the musical side of the compositions. A lot of the songs inevitably just make you want to shove your bed up against the wall and create your own DIY, ballistic and spontaneous thrash mess of a hardcore concert.
After flipping the bird at religion in ‘Hell,’ the album hits ‘Treachery…’ to kick the feel back into heavy hardcore mode. ‘Treachery…’ tells a high impact story of a girl one member of the band knew who was abused in unspeakable ways by a teacher she trusted. It’s only fitting to features dissonant guitars with a dark and deadly chorus surrounding a description of this young girl having her mental wellbeing battered and bruised. The following and accompanying song ‘…Suffocate’ is McAleer’s point of view on the topic; a swift song fuelled with tanks of hatred, anger and a dark, blunt wish for death. The band have taken the whole idea of hardcore and slammed it into the ears of all listeners who experience these two songs. By now your neck is starting to hurt from head banging, but the album hasn’t even hit the halfway point yet. Suck it up because there’s no time to rest before ‘Apathy // Aggression’ kicks in. If drummer Marcus Tamp can keep drumming after that, you can keep your head moving. Pay attention because this is the only song where we catch a line of clean vocals and guitar tapping towards the end; a bit of unexpected spice at the album’s midpoint.
‘Broken’ was the single of this album and premiered on Triple J’s Short Fast Loud show. We’re introduced to the song with a sludgier riff than what is heard on the rest of the album, but that’s fine; feed it to us VICES! I personally enjoy how the drums progress and change grooves within this song. Marcus Tramp seems to have comfortably nailed the speed and accuracy hardcore demands. By now, if you have familiarised yourself with their previous albums, you will hear an overall quality boost of the mixes, song writing, impact and hardness to the core. Jay Mass is the first well-known producer VICES have worked with on an album. With artists such as Defeater, Bane, Verse and Counterparts, Jay has a healthy reputation and a style that has clearly complimented the album.
‘Grey’ contrasts the other tunes by starting with a quote from Albert Ellis. It’s a little less clear lyrically than some other songs, but touches on themes of the humanity being darker and unfortunately depressing than what we think. The album from here on feels as though it repeats some musical ideas. Although ‘Purpose’ begins with more of a preaching style introduction, it still follows similar sounding guitar harmonies, drumming and vocals to the previous songs. ‘Isolation’ resembles the beginning of ‘Wither // Collapse’ but begins with the vocals in half time. Although the song retains the epic power all of the songs on Now That I Have Seen I Am Responsible, it seems the creative juices might not have been running at 100% by the eleventh track.
At least VICES have ended the album with skull crushing finale song, ‘Incarnate’. Vocal rhythms are mixed up in this song, a new drum beat is used and we end with a satisfying, half tempo evil breakdown of doom.
With a lyrical mixture of the themes present in the previous two albums, VICES have delivered a powerhouse record of hardcore that will inspire all of us to think about how fucked up the world really can be. Of course if you’re not in the mood to think, it’s still a fantastic album to blow off some steam to and an album worth sharing; some hardcore bands only appeal to the nitpicky fans of the genre but this album shows some potential towards listeners of other related styles. Good on you lads! It’s a fine display of a work and an album that I’ll certainly be jamming out to.
Vices – Now That I Have Seen I Am Responsible track listing:
- Wither // Collapse
- Apathy // Aggression
Rating: 7 circle pits out of 10
Now That I Have Seen I Am Responsible is Out Now
By – Kurt Boldy