Tim Williams â€“ vocals
Matt Baumbach â€“ guitar
Mike Kennedy â€“ guitar
Mike Fleischmann â€“ bass
Brendon Cohen â€“ drums
The sound bursts out of the speakers and immediately hits you in the face like a fistful of nails. Raw, uncompromising, walking a knife-edge of intensity that few bands dare to travel, thereâ€™s no mistaking â€“ wait a minute. What band are we speaking about here exactly?
Thatâ€™s right. Vision Of Disorder. Same five guys from Long Island. New album. New label. And a new sound that never disrespects the bandâ€™s trademark viciousness, yet takes them into darker, heavier, more powerful, and yes, more diverse terrain than ever before.
â€œAs far as I can tell, I think that our record doesnâ€™t really sound like anything else,â€? says lead singer Tim Williams of the bandâ€™s third full-length album, From Bliss To Devastation. â€œItâ€™s got its influences â€“ what record doesnâ€™t â€“ but all in all, I donâ€™t think it sounds like anything else out there, which Iâ€™m pretty psyched about.â€?
The result of two years of painstaking rehearsal and writing, all while the band was, as Williams puts it, â€œcleaning houseâ€? â€“ parting ways with both their previous label and old management â€“ From Bliss To Devastation lives up to Williamsâ€™ claim. Just as the rap-metal treadmill is slowly winding its way down, Vision Of Disorder has created a slab of haunting, oppressively heavy and unapologetic metal that retains the bandâ€™s original hardcore attitude but finds them crafting the most cohesive and groove-laden songs of their career.
â€œItâ€™s definitely not the norm, because basically what youâ€™re doing is trusting your music,â€? says guitarist Matt Baumbach about the bandâ€™s risky decision to ask for a release from Roadrunner Records after two albums, their self-titled 1997 debut and â€˜98â€™s Imprint. â€œWe had enough faith in our music to say, â€˜you know what, we can get released from our label and weâ€™ll still be okay because we know weâ€™re good enough to get signed again.â€™ At first, when we got off, it was scary as hell. We had to regroup and decide whether or not we wanted to do this for real, and we said, â€˜hell, yeah.â€™ It was hard, a bunch of us had to get jobs, but we always believed in the music and knew that eventually it would work out.â€?
Scattered rumors of the bandâ€™s demise two years ago were inaccurate, although they admit to going underground. â€œWe felt we all needed a break from the music industry, so we just went into a little studio with minimum rent â€“ there were literally cockroaches on the floor -- and started putting together some new songs,â€? recalls the gravelly-voiced Williams. â€œWe werenâ€™t playing any shows, we had no deadlines, and no one was breathing down our necks. The stuff on the new record is the best stuff that came out of something like two yearsâ€™ worth of material. We just played for ourselves â€“ we didnâ€™t play for hardcore kids or metal kids, but we just played what made us feel good.â€?
An EP on Go Kart Records entitled For The Bleeders kept the bandâ€™s name out in front of fans, while allowing them a peek at the music the band was working on in the form of three new songs. But even that sneak preview was only a small taste of the Devastation to come.
â€œThe biggest thing ever in the progression of this bandâ€™s sound was that we said to ourselves, â€˜we can come back new, because there is no perception of the band now. We can do whatever the hell we want,â€™â€? says Baumbach. â€œSo we really said, letâ€™s do something new and inventive, write something that we think is different, but also still very credible at the same time. We basically wanted to groove out a little more, slow it down, and really concentrate on writing. Not just writing a good part, but writing a good song in the classic songwriting sense.â€?
From Bliss To Devastation, produced by Machine at Water Music in Hoboken, New Jersey, is one of those rare modern heavy rock albums that is packed with good songs. From the grinding opener â€œLiving To Dieâ€? to the jungle-drum assault of â€œItchinâ€™ To Bleedâ€? to the doom-soaked apocalyptic blues of the title track, the album reflects Vision Of Disorderâ€™s desire to stretch themselves and their music beyond any previous limitations.
â€œA lot of it also has to do with the influence of music we were listening to,â€? continues Baumbach. â€œWe really started getting deep into Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, even the Beatles. We really got influenced by very good songwriters, so that in itself affected our sound.â€?
â€œVision Of Disorder has always been about change â€“ we never really went with the norm,â€? says Williams. â€œA lot of shit sounds the same these days, so I knew weâ€™d have to progress and do something different.â€?
The bandâ€™s unwavering confidence in themselves and their music stems from their longtime relationships with each other. All five members of the band grew up within fifteen minutes of each other in the Long Island towns of Baldwin and Merrick, where they raced bikes, played sports, hung out, and listened to music. Inevitably, the idea to form a band was hatched, and before anyone knew what was happening, Vision Of Disorder was opening for bands like Sick Of It All and headlining their own tri-state area shows in front of four hundred or more people.
A seven-inch single and track on the acclaimed New Yorkâ€™s Hardest compilation led to the release of their first full-length album on Supersoul Records, which was distributed by Roadrunner. A slot on the second stage of the inaugural OzzFest tour cemented Vision Of Disorderâ€™s standing as a band to watch, which was only further enhanced by the release of Imprint in 1998. And now with the release of From Bliss To Devastation, Vision Of Disorder is ready to be catapulted to the frontlines of heavy rock.
â€œWeâ€™re ready for the main stage now,â€? predicts Williams. â€œWeâ€™re older, weâ€™re more mature musically and as people, and weâ€™re ready to take it all the way. I think our personalities are ready for it. In the past, we might have been too young and our heads werenâ€™t in the right place, but with the record we have now, weâ€™re sitting in a good spot.â€?