Art Of Dying – Vices And Virtues
2011, Intoxication Records
Vancouver rockers Art Of Dying released their debut album, Vices And Virtues, this week on Disturbed’s Intoxication Records (Reprise). The high energy rockers enter the realm of mainstream, radio-ready hard rock with a bang and a whisper on one of the most highly polished rock albums of the year, so far. Playing in the realm of modern rock with a retro nod to 1980’s hair bands, Art Of Dying has the sound and intensity to appeal to rock fans of different generations, offering enough substance in their songwriting to last longer than a four-minute blip on modern rock radio, but enough pop sensibility in their sound to keep the phone lines lighting up with requests. “Die Trying” is a catchy instant radio hit built on dark, minor key vocal harmonies and an edgy sound. “Get Through This” is built on a killer hook and serious pop sensibilities, and has an anthemic quality for a troubled world that could really catch on. While the lyrics here are a bit simplistic at times, the universality of the song will have a lot of appeal.
“Sorry” offers serious vocal harmonies that work their way up into the arena-rock vocal triads of 1980’s stalwarts such as Styx and Journey at times. This may be the biggest potential hit on the album, and don’t be surprised if it becomes a staple this summer. “I Will Be There” is a loving ballad seemingly from parent to child, and shows real heart that will appeal well to adult-contemporary radio. It’s a classic power ballad with a surprisingly heartfelt twist. “Best I Can” also gets Art Of Dying points for balladry, while “Straight Across My Mind” gets things moving in the active rock realm again. While there is definitely some filler here designed to flesh Vices And Virtues out into a full-length album, there is more than enough solid material to make the effort worthwhile. In an era when many albums are built around one solid, marketable song, it’s refreshing to find a hard rock band who writes with a depth and breadth well beyond the norm. One might walk away with the impression that Art Of Dying is a good band on the cusp of being a great one. That’s okay. Vices And Virtues is good enough that a lot of people will want to see what Art Of Dying does next.
Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)