Hardcore may have been born in Washington, D.C., yet it is in the New York tri-state area that the musical form has thrived for three decades now.
Hardcore may have been born in Washington, D.C., yet it is in the New York tri-state area that the musical form has thrived for three decades now. Trends may come and go, but somewhere in New York on any given night, you'll be able to find a makeshift venue, crammed with disenchanted youth, moshing and raging away.
One of the most popular hardcore bands to ever emerge from the area was undoubtedly Vision Of Disorder (or as their fans called them, VOD). VOD was not the first New York band to merge hardcore fury with the power of heavy metal -- the Cro-Mags and Biohazard beat them to the punch -- but with seemingly every local teen waving the VOD banner circa the mid/late '90s, it seemed as though it was only a matter of time before VOD would become the band to take "metalcore" to a massive audience.
For several reasons (record label snafus and plain old being in the wrong place at the wrong time) this failed to materialize. So after four albums, the band split in 2001. But its hard work opened up the door for a legion of new, similarly styled bands, which seem to be reaping the rewards VOD never had the opportunity to enjoy itself.
They may have been down, but VOD's former members certainly are not out, as they have all recently reappeared in new bands: guitarist Matt Baumbach in the Current, drummer Brendon Cohen and bassist-turned-guitarist Mike Fleischmann in Karnov and singer Tim Williams and guitarist Mike Kennedy in Bloodsimple. With Bloodsimple recently releasing its debut album on Reprise, "A Cruel World," and returning home, it was obviously going to be a special night. The buzz only grew louder when word got out that VOD would reunite at the end of the night.
First up was the live debut of aforementioned VOD disciples, Karnov. While this was obviously a "hardcore audience" it was playing to, the group admirably took chances with its Sabbath/Soundgarden/Clutch crunch riffs, in addition to the presence of a keyboard and even a tambourine. The sextet's focal point was its Harley-obsessed singer, B. Folly (leather vest, biker boots and black gloves), whose Danzig-like vocals made such tunes as "Willow" and "Hand of Lady Faire" certified doom metal delights.
But it was obviously Bloodsimple that the majority of the crowd had come to see, as evidenced by the audience-participation screamalong's and also the intense mosh pit action. Singer Williams still possesses one hell of a set of vocal pipes, as his scream-singing helped propel such tracks as "Falling Backwards" and "Blood In Blood Out." In addition to cranking out riffs on his six-string, Kennedy also used the instrument to bat himself in the noggin throughout the set.
Williams also made it a point to salute all the local hardcore bands past and present, and when he mentioned that a "history lesson" was coming up, the crowd knew exactly what he meant. And just like that, all the sweaty moshers who were taking a breather made a mad dash for the pit, a fistfight broke out and the club's temperature instantly increased: all fitting signals for the return of Vision of Disorder.
Sounding amazingly tight and heavy, despite not having played a show together in four years, VOD cranked out a short-but-sweet three song set, including "Choke," "Element," and "D.T.O." Unfortunately, unless you were right up front (and good luck attempting that without taking a boot to the head), you couldn't get a good view of the band, thanks to the constant presence of three burly bouncers who stood on the front of the stage throughout. Despite mass chanting of "VOD, VOD," the band was off the stage in what seemed like a flash.
Still, Bloodsimple's homecoming was all you could ask for, made even more special by the "history lesson." With a video currently embraced by Fuse and "Headbangers' Ball" ("Straight Hate"), hopefully the group will get to enjoy the fruits of its success this second time around.