Since their 2013 debut album, Between My Mind and the World, Sydneysiders Vices have been carving out a niche in the Australian hardcore scene with their melodic hardcore sound and cathartic, introspective lyrics.
With their latest album, Now That I Have Seen I Am Responsible, Vices teamed up with producer (ex-Defeater) Jay Mass to deliver an album that sees Vices bringing in heavier elements to their sound and broadening their lyrical perspective.
While still firmly a hardcore band, Now That I Have Seen I Am Responsible sees Vices bringing in heavier aspects throughout the album, such as breakdowns and a stronger, more impactful guitar section.
While guitarists Calum Waldergrave and Jake Forrest were given the opportunity to bring a larger amount of influence to the fore, even bringing in some guitar solos peppered throughout the album, drummer Marcus Temp and bassist Jai Curtis should not be overlooked, with their rhythm section being used to keep the band in check while delivering some thunderous performance of their own. The production by Jay Mass helps with this refinement in sound, with ever instrument being given enough space for maximum impact, while giving the band their most massive sound yet.
Opening with Species, Vices immediately lets fans now that their melodic hardcore roots are still in place but there is a noticeable difference, with the guitars having more of a focus of riffing, before dropping into a slower and heavier section for the remainder of the track with a slight key change towards the end serving to give the track more variety.The lyrics on this song show the broadening of the lyrical focus on this album, with McAleer bring his strong vegan beliefs to the fore, with the lyrics being strongly reminiscent of old-school Propagandhi.
The biggest curveball of the record would have to be the thirst track Alone, with vocalist John McAleer delivering some clean vocals in the opening seconds, before the band delivers a slower track, which ends up giving the song a stomping, purposeful sound. The two-track combination of Treachery… and ...Suffocate deliver some of the most impactful tracks on the album, having some of the more straightforward and angry lyrics present:
“You make me sick and I don’t believe in hell, but for you I will.”
The first single of the album, Broken, is one of the heaviest tracks on the album, with the breakdown at 1:10 being one of the most bone-shattering moments of Vices’ whole discography. Tracks such as Grey and Wake showcase Vices’ melodic hardcore influence, while the track Isolation uses a lengthy buildup to increase the tension of the track, which serve to increase to potency of the lyrics present.
Throughout their career, vocalist John McAleer has shown that he is person that uses his lyrics as catharsis, with their previous two albums delving into the insecurities and struggles that he has experienced. On this album, McAleer broadens his lyrical focus beyond his introspective to external issues such as Veganism (Species), Religion (Hell), death in the family (Wake) and dissatisfaction to the modern world (Purpose), with McAleer using these topics to explore different unexpected aspects and raise questions, going beyond just a generic ‘I’m angry at the world’ message.
By delivering a solid hardcore record with a great mixture of melodic hardcore and heavier sound, Now That I Have Seen I Am Responsible is the album Vices needed to release to begin to cement their place in the Australia hardcore scene.