Art of Dying “Vices & Virtues”

originally posted on Saturday, 16 February 2013

In modern alternative rock music, you have to have something different about your sound to stand out. There was a time in the not so distant past that had a lot of bands sounding similar to each other. It was very easy to say “these guys sound like that band” and so on. Lately we’ve been lucky with our selection of current rock outfits to be doing their own thing. Art of Dying fits in to modern rock perfectly for that very reason. For proof, listen to their second (first major label) album Vices and Virtues, released in March of 2011.

The album provides listeners with nice, heavy, not so angry songs along with displaying a lighter side, more so than most bands would feel comfortable doing nowadays. The album starts off on a nice heavy note with Die Trying, the album’s first single. The song has one of the albums many sing-able choruses, and it displays lead vocalist Jonny Hetherington’s vocal range, with his low toned soft spoken voice singing the verses, then his wail of a yell singing the chorus.

 

Songs such as Get Thru ThisCompletelyI Will Be ThereYou Don’t Know Me and Raining are all songs that the band had originally recorded on their independently released self titled debut (which featured Jonny and guitarist Greg Bradley, of whom are the only two members to appear on both albums). All five songs were re-recorded and frankly perfected for this album. Get Thru This (originally spelled “Through” rather than “Thru” on the debut) is the album’s undisputed anthem and second single. It is a faster tempo song compared to Die Trying, and features the inspirational “If I can get through this, I can get through anything” message throughout the chorus, and frankly would have made for a better album opener, but the band probably didn’t think it would be a good idea considering it was the first track off of the self titled album.

 

Other heavy paced hard rockers off of the album include Whole World’s CrazyCompletelyStraight Across My Mind and You Don’t Know Me, the latter being the heaviest, most aggressive and fastest paced song on the album. All four songs prove to make the album a true gem for the listener looking for some good heavy tunes.

 

The albums third single, Sorry, is among a few of the softer songs on the album. The song features well mixed acoustic guitars with electric guitars and perfectly harmonized vocals that make the song a very memorable tune that has a heavy enough rhythm section to stop the song from being considered a “ballad”. Other softer songs on the album include I Will Be There, which is a much softer song than Sorry, featuring much more obvious acoustic guitars and beautiful vocals by Jonny. Best I Can is an acoustic tune, and a live staple, and truly stands out due to it being the softest song on the album, with yet another sing-able chorus. This track also has some electric guitars, drums and bass in the background, but it concentrates on acoustic guitars, but progresses into an aggressive yet passionate display of instrumentation in the last 2 or so minutes.

 

The significance with the album’s fourth, and so far last single, Raining is not only that it sounds nothing like anything else off of the album, but it also features guest vocals by none other than former Three Days Grace front man Adam Gontier (cousin of bassist Cale Gontier). The song is a slow paced rocker, good for the listener who wants a good gloomy sounding song. In typical Art of Dying fashion, the song features slightly depressive lyrics, but finds a way to make positive out of negative (“I’m crazy enough to know that I’ll find a way to make this all go away”).

The album’s final track, Breathe Again, is much like Sorry in structure. In fact, it could be described practically the same in structure, with its acoustic and electric mixed guitars, harmonized vocals and a heavy rhythm section. This track does however have a much stronger chorus, and more inspirational lyrics to give the listener a positive feeling to end the listening experience.

 

The albums deluxe version features two bonus tracks. Better Off is a mix of emotion. It starts off with a loud aggressive and distorted intro that leads to a very soft spoken verse, and then to a chorus so aggressive that it would stand as one of the heaviest moments on the album. Watching You Watching Me is a re-recording of a song called Fits of Clarity, a track off of the band’s first album. This is another song that sounds nothing like anything off of the album in style. It would fall under the softer song category, but it’s definitely not a ballad, however the song is hardly aggressive in any way, so it’s tough to pin-point a listener it would appeal to, but at the same time it is one of the best tracks off of the album.

 

Art of Dying set out to record songs in a more positive manor. They opt to perform inspirational songs that depict the finer points of life, and not giving up the fight, but they still maintain a perfect hard-rock edge. The result is one of the best examples of modern rock that has been released in the past decade.

 

ALBUM HIGHLIGHT

 

Whole World’s Crazy” – It is hard to pick out a track that best displays the many different musical abilities displayed throughout the album, so instead, this album’s highlight is the best melodically written song off of the album. The song is a heavy, yet not too aggressive track, that covers serious matter in its lyrics by speaking of a young man living on the street, and a young girl who lost her innocence and became a very young mother, and uses these as examples on why the “Whole World’s Crazy”. The song features Jonny’s strongest vocal performance and shows a great musical intelligence on how to use his vocal melodies at the perfect moments. Not to mention the song has a KILLER guitar solo.

 

FINAL RATING

 

9.5 (Out of 10)

 

 

Track List:

 

  1. Die Trying                                                                                     3:49
  1. Get Thru This                                                                               2:43
  1. Sorry                                                                                              4:25
  1. Whole World’s Crazy                                                                  3:45
  1. Completely                                                                                   3:23
  1. I Will Be There                                                                              3:51
  1. You Don’t Know Me                                                                    3:06
  1. Raining (Featuring Adam Gontier)                                            3:47
  1. Best I Can                                                                                       5:03
  1. Straight Across My Mind                                                             4:21
  1. Breathe Again                                                                               4:12
  1. Better Off (Deluxe Edition Bonus Track)                                  3:01
  1. Watching You Watching Me (Deluxe Edition Bonus Track)  3:52

 

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