Before the days of the internet and file sharing, the way most hardcore bands made a name for themselves was via constant gigging and demos exchanging as many hands as possible.
Before the days of the internet and file sharing, the way most hardcore bands made a name for themselves was via constant gigging and demos exchanging as many hands as possible. This was exactly the route that one of the most endearing hardcore-metal bands to ever emerge from Long Island -- Vision Of Disorder (aka V.O.D.) -- followed when it rose from the underground in the mid-to-late '90s.
Despite releasing four full-lengths and sharing the stage with the likes of Pantera, Slayer and Bad Brains, the group never broke through commercially. But nowadays, many a band spotted on Fuse and "Headbanger's Ball" consider V.O.D. a highly influential act. With all their former members now on to other musical projects (singer Tim Williams and guitarist Mike Kennedy in Bloodsimple, bassist Mike Fleischmann and drummer Brendon Cohen in Karnov and guitarist Matt Baumbach in the Current), a V.O.D. reunion seemed highly unlikely.
But with a mini-set at the end of a Bloodsimple gig in September 2005, the fires were stoked once more. And when an offer came their way to tape shows for a forthcoming live DVD release, the quintet decided to regroup for a handful of east coast dates, advertised as the last time it would ever be performing.
Although they had already played the Long Island venue Club Voltage just two nights before, the Sunday night show was even more packed than Friday's. And despite a five-year layoff, the group sounded amazingly tight, as if no time had lapsed since its days as a full-time functioning band.
Taking the stage to the pre-recorded strains of the Doors' "The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)," the group launched into a favorite from its 1996 self-titled debut, "D.T.O.," which perfectly set the stage for what was to follow: slam dancing, crowd surfing, heat and sweat. Buckets of sweat.
As with most hardcore shows, the crowd often chanted along in unison to the lyrics, especially evident in the choruses in "Viola" and "Choke." And while hardcore and metal nowadays seems to have an influx of powerful, metronome-perfect drummers, Cohen still remains one of the best yet criminally underrated drummers in either genre, exemplified by his performance this night.
Before exiting the stage, Williams handed the mic to a few drenched and steaming fans in the front row to "speak their mind." One fan pleaded for V.O.D. to become a full-time proposition once again. It certainly wouldn't be a bad idea, based on how strong the band sounded.