Vision of Disorder are back with a hard-hitting and well meant record in Razed To The Ground. They’re classified as a mix of punk, hardcore and metal, but have never been as pigeonholed into a style as many of the bands in that genre. I mean, just looking at that definition might turn off some of the older heads, but then again; maybe not – because these guys have been around since 1995 and even I remember their ’99 disc, For The Bleeders when I found a copy of the disc in shoddy condition down at the local pawn shop. I think I even still have that disc and played the shit out of it along with the Living Sacrifice that I found at the same time. They were a buck each. I was pretty excited to see these guys come back together in ’12 and considered The Cursed Remain Cursed to be a rather solid disc in it’s own right. Problem is, I really fucking love Razed To The Ground. Mike Kennedy and Matthew Baumbach are playing exceptionally technical and overly heavy riffs, which make the record sound like something of an art museum on fire. It’s cleanly crafted, but it’ll also knock you on your ass. If you’ll listen to the cleaner pieces here, you’ll notice there’s a definite attention to detail, which helps the whole record to stand out. Mike Fleischmann still pounds on the bass though, so you’re still getting a record that you can bang your head too. Tim Williams is also in top form here, and he sounds just as good here as he did on For The Bleeders. He also uses a clean vocal approach here in addition to all the rough stuff, and it fits. It doesn’t sound really angelic or anything that will win American Idol, but goddamn it, it sounds real.
Razed To The Ground has the same sense of raw fury that you got with the old stuff, it’s just that thanks to modern technology, you can actually hear it this time. I loved For The Bleeders, but it was a little hard to hear and I don’t think I was able to get much out of it. With this one, I’m absorbing the whole disc in one go and I’m loving it all the way through. The disc is completely ravenous and might remind you a little of Adrenaline era Deftones as well as latter-era Pantera, just with more influence in the thrash department. I’d definitely consider Phil Anselmo an influence here and you can hear it pretty well on “Cut My Teeth” (4:51) and “Electric Sky” (5:11) among several others. Folks, this is the same lineup that got together in 1992 and they’re making the same kind of memorable metal that we remember from them. They’re adding a few new ideas, but still carrying the classic influences with them and it amounts to a really killer listen that any Vision Of Disorder fan is going to want to hear. Again, anyone – I mean anyone – who is listening to this Pierce The Veil, Black Veil Brides, Of Mice and Men kind of shit, you really need to get this disc in their hands. It’s almost the Helliday season, so be sure to put a copy of this one in their stocking, especially if it’s your metalhead kid. I really think that the approach here will soak in with the new crowd just as much as it will with vets like us who remember the early shit and I’d certainly recommend it as one of the biggest surprises I’ve heard this year. Razed To The Ground will tear you to pieces and you’ll love every bit of it.
(10 Tracks, 42:00)