Vision Of Disorder – Still

4 out of 5

Label: Striving for Togetherness Records

Produced by: Vision of Disorder (?)

While not an essential record amongst VOD’s albums, early offering Still – an EP from before their Roadrunner signing – is a pure document of why Vision of Disorder would’ve been a big deal, and why they’re still able to put out quality material.

Often, early recordings from bands capture a spark, but there’s a bit of a you-had-to-be-there element. Meanwhile, on Still’s 4 first tracks – 2 were later added for a CD release – all of the core qualities of the band’s sound are intact, roughhousing between hardcore breakdowns and punk intensity, much carried by Brendan Cohen’s intense drumming and Matt Baumbach’s and Mike Kennedy’s steady but raw guitar slinging, not to mentions Tim Williams incredibly notable switch-ups between talk-singing and shouting, even if both sides of that aren’t quite up to the quality of later tracks.

Lyrical density – another VOD hallmark that’s lasted – is also present. Even when the group was young and still doing the rounds on typical hardcore / straight-edge themes, the stuff packs a punch. This is maybe a bit less true with D.T.O. and No Regrets, the added tracks, as the former is kinda lyrics-by-template – Fuck you! Fuck everyone! – and is also one of the rare instances of the band seeming sloppy musically as well, and the latter is just kinda there to rave-up the crowd, but at the very least, it surely would’ve done a damn good job of doing that.

I’ve read varying reviews that reference these as demos, and I’m not familiar enough with all of VOD’s catalogue to say. But the recording is solid, the performances still hit to this day, and there are plenty of long-running acts that would be proud to drop an EP like this now, while Vision of Disorder can look back on it as just a starting point.