It’s hard to believe that Vices and Virtues is only Art of Dying’s sophomore release. It’s just too good to fathom that honestly, but it seems this Vancouver, British Columbia act has some things figured out. Most modern rock albums feature less than a handful of songs that garner radio play, but fill the rest of the record with bland and vanilla filler songs that just fall to the wayside for the most part. Well, Vices and Virtues is not one of these types of rock records as, aside from one or two tracks, there isn’t any filler to be seen.
The bands tight musicianship and Vices and Virtues high production value (thanks to the efforts of producers Howard Benson and Disturbed’s Dan Donegan) are good enough that you really don’t notice the predictable structures throughout.
“Whole World’s Crazy” is a blatant and sub-par attempt at cracking the mainstream, a track with a radio hook and generic lyrics, but honestly this track is like a needle in a haystack as a poor track, something Vices and Virtues offer very few of. “You Don’t Know Me” sounds like a ‘Gong’-era Drowning Pool b-side (that’s their painfully underappreciated sophomore album Desensitized for those in the dark here), complete with riffs that sound plucked straight from the tune “Step Up.” The albums ballads are sterling, ironically shining bright though they employ a somber tenor for the most part (“Sorry,” “I Will Be There,” “Best I Can”), but don’t sell the Art of Dying’s ability to let the guitars churn as they flat out rip (“Die Trying,” “Completely,” “Straight Across My Mind”).
Frontman Jonny Hetherington often sounds eerily similar to Chris Daughtry (but honestly how much does he sound like 10 Years’ Jesse Hasek on opener “Die Trying”), which isn’t a bad thing for those on the fence. His voice is powerful and emotive and carries these songs when need be.
Vices and Virtues is one of the best rock records to come down the pipeline thus far this year, and is should be solid enough to hang around near the upper echelon of rock releases come year’s end.
Listen to: “Raining” (featuring Three Day Grace’s Adam Gontier)