Raunchy – Vices.Virtues.Visions
Release Date: November 14. 2104
“How is there so much diversity in a genre, which to most people, sounds like Noise?”
Sam Dunn was spot on in this thought-provoking observation he made in his globally acclaimed documentary – Metal Evolution. True to his words, at one end of the spectrum, there are Metal bands who are redefining abrasiveness and aggression while at the other, there are those who are fearlessly transcending the genre, creating heady cocktails of groove and melody and imparting an eclectic modern twist to it. One band that belongs to the latter end of that spectrum are the Danish metal band – Raunchy.
Although Raunchy has been around since 1992, they are yet to garner much attention from the Metal community. Well, that was the story till now. Armed with a brand new vocalist in the form of Mike Semesky, they conjure up a beautiful mix of melody and aggression in their latest release Vices.Virtues.Visions.
Whether you will love or hate the new release, depends on the amount of melody you like in Metal. Fans of the band would hungrily lap up the new album as it’s clearly a notch above their old releases. Meanwhile, haters of this melodic style of Metal would be forced to reconsider their likeness once they listen to the band’s latest offering. The band gives birth to an immensely catchy sound injected with heavy doses of groove-laden hooks which will forcefully demand your attention.
The album opener, “Eyes Of A Storm”, lures you in with a super sweet melody on the keyboards. As you find yourself getting increasingly intrigued by it, you crash into a thick wall of sound featuring a nicely constructed hook and some crispy work behind the drum kit. They both accompany the ambient notes on the keyboards beautifully to create an epic opener to the album. Soon, the keyboards give way entirely to a thumping riff for Mike Semesky to make a powerful entrance with his gut-wrenching high screams. Before you know it, the melodic keyboards completely replace the distortion, twisting the song to an entirely different direction in the chorus. Semesky’s vocal versatility is on display as he trades his aggressive screams for cleanly sung vocals at the drop of a hat for the synth-driven pop like chorus.
The duet like synchronization between the distorted guitars and the melodic synths give Raunchy their unique sound. Jesper Tilsted and Lars Christensen churn out thumping hooks to create an aggressive base and Jeppe Christensen envelops it with bouncy techno/EDM rhythms on the keyboards. Morten Hansen elevates the groove to unreachable levels with his tight drum work throughout the album. The band follows a formulaic songwriting approach throughout the album yet manage to keep it extremely interesting and not at all repetitive. Tracks like “I, Avarice”, “Anaesthesia Throne” and “Frozen Earth” have epic melodies, pulverizing drums and kick ass riffage coming together beautifully to bombard your eardrums with equal measures of heaviness and peppiness. It would make you bang your heads and dance to it at the same time.
I was initially put off by Semesky’s clean singing style because it was too polished for my liking, but successive listens transformed me into a fan. Semesky’s effortless shifts between clean vocals and high screams is truly remarkable and at times makes it difficult to believe that he is the only one on the vocals, especially on tracks like “Truth Taker”, “Digital Dreamer” and “Luxuria”.
The production is clean and very modern which is apt considering the sound the band produces. However, it must not have been easy to achieve because of the myriad textures each track possesses. The instrumentation is layered nicely, with each instrument complementing the other perfectly. Probably Jesper Kvist could have been a little louder at the lower end as the bass gets lost in the mix sometimes, but it’s a minor pet peeve.
To sum it up, Raunchy have released a solid album in Vices.Virtues.Visions. It is a powerful ride which will keep you interested throughout. It will make the staunchest of metal heads, who won’t trade even an iota of abrasiveness for melody in their palette for metal, tip their hats in approval for this release and to the band.
Recommended Tracks: “I, Avarice”, “Truth Taker”, “Anaesthesia Throne”, “Frozen Earth”