Album Review: Vice - For The Fallen
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings
Manchester thrash metal trio Vice caught my eye at Hammerfest in 2019 with a quality show. The trio of Tom Atkinson (guitars and vocals), Aiden Lord (bass and vocals) and Connor Summers (drums) took the main stage by storm and rightly earned an excellent response. Having released their first album ‘The First Chapter’ in 2017, it’s good to see them finally bringing their brand of thrash metal back to the attention of the metal world with album number two, ‘For the Fallen’.
‘For the Fallen’ opens solidly with ‘Strive.’ Vice set out their stall early with a pleasing melody surging through their Trivium sounding metal. There are some frighteningly David Draiman-esque vocals which catch you by surprise, but if you can get over the purely coincidental similarity which is most evident in the opening song, these aren’t a sticking point. ‘Strive’ rattles along, with the trio locked in tight, their playing cohesive and impressive. And there is nothing offensive whatsoever. And maybe that’s the challenge. It’s just a bit average, however well it is played.
Whilst ‘Strive’ flicks between thrash and more traditional metal, with a nod to Trivium evident, there’s a bit more beef to ‘Rise,’ which follows. The problem for me with this album, is it’s a bit bland in places. ‘Vultures’ works well but I found myself drifting. The huge djent stomp of ‘Exist & Remain’ brought a change in tempo, with the crossover of clean and growling vocals bringing a different perspective. The drop in pace which segues into a soaring solo and a melodic passage is decent, with the variation welcome.
Let’s be clear from the start. This isn’t a bad album. Break the Cycle has some decent riffs whilst there is a definite Machine Head vibe to ‘Failure.’ Plenty of effort, well-crafted and well performed and yet that spark that grabs you by the balls and twists until you puke is absent.
‘For the Fallen’ is enjoyable, the closing track stands out as a solid modern metal song. The album hangs together well and yet it’s missing the spark that would push it from also rans to captivating. And that is a shame, for there is clearly more to this band than we get from this album.