If you gathered all the rage of the youth, fixed in all the fucked up things you see in life from petty attitudes to crooked philosophies, mixed it with the raw edge of 80s hardcore/punk and shook it with the whiskey wash of blues, you'd have a pretty damn good idea of what you're in store for with Vices.
Vices is going to call to mind a lot of things to anyone seasoned in music genres beyond hardcore/punk and metal. Blues and southern rock play heavily into their style, but not unlike other bands that have incorporated wailing guitar sections; not the least of which include Suicidal Tendencies and the once almighty Black Flag. Though the Jacksonville, FL quartet sounds nothing like either. If you took the base foundations of hardcore/punk and sprinkled in the likes of Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Joe Bonamassa or B.B. King (or all four, what the hell, why sell yourself short), you'd get Vices.
New Breed is Vices' debut full length blazes onto the speakers with “The Sabbath,” setting the mood for the rest of the album. It's a brew of intense thumping rhythm and screeching lead. The use of the wah-wah pedal pushes throughout. Though the band is never trying to push the boundaries of speed and play the old short, fast, loud schtick, despite no song clocking in over three-minutes. The album is more of a slow burn with the way it takes you in. Vices builds up their pieces and never over stays.
That being said, the album clocks in at nineteen minutes. The trip is short, sweet and well composed but once it's over you might feel surprised by its brief length. The solos are the fastest sections on the album and juicy to listen to. “No One Rules” is a fantastic example of this. Though other pieces like “Instrumental” take it slow and bring on the blues. In essence, sometimes it's like your taking shots and other times it's like you're sipping a brew. Or doctoring a glass of whiskey. Despite the quick trip New Breed brings us, it never attempts to throw too much at us.
Make no mistake though. This album is still plenty hardcore/punk. While leads and licks are abound, Vices still has a pure hardcore establishment. “Swan Song” sounds like something straight out of the 80s with its simplistic structure and forward momentum. The aforementioned “New Breed” plays plenty on this sound as well, and is one of the best crafted tracks on the album.
Lyrically the band has points where it reminds me of youth crew stuff like Champion. The title track brings to mind “Thank You Note” with lyrical themes touching on bullshit elitism sometimes found in the hardcore/punk scene (and while we're on the subject, fuck elitism). What I really have to compliment Vices on is straying from the path of writing the standard sad/depressed/whoops-I-fucked-up song. The band pushes a more frustrated outlook calling bullshit where it sees it. “Devil's Advocate” is another great track speaking against harsh judgments people make just in passing.
If you like old school hardcore/punk and blues/southern rock then Vices is going to be something you wanna pick up. The album flow is great, the instrumentation rocks and the band has an excellent delivery. New Breed is an album that is wholeheartedly executed. Those that want more than just a three-chords, forward momentum and gang vocals are going to find Vices an worthwhile listen. If you dig Cloak/Dagger, old school Black Flag, or Buddy Guy then New Breed is going to be right up your ally.
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