In the nearly two years since we launched Earbits, we have been accepted to the world’s most prestigious startup accelerator, forged partnerships with over 200 record labels, received a surprise investment of $150k from two people who had never met us, and were one of Facebook’s first music launch partners.  And yet, today may be my favorite day in Earbits history.

We now have playing legendary New York hardcore band Vision of Disorder.

My Personal Vision of Disorder Back Story

To understand the significance of today, we have to go back 15 years.  At the time, the hardest music I listened to was old Metallica, Tool and Rage Against the Machine.  19 years old, I stumbled into Dimple Records in Roseville, CA and was browsing used CDs looking for rare Tool bootlegs when I saw a CD that, for whatever reason, beckoned me to put it in the listening station.  And so I did.

From the moment Brendon Cohen’s massive drums kicked in on Element off of VOD’s self-titled album, they had made me a fan.  But as the song hit 25 seconds in, 1:25, 1:55 and just kept introducing classic VOD riff and breakdown after another, my mind was blown wide open and there was no looking back.

Over the coming years, I would see them at every rare opportunity that a West Coaster had.  At the Bomb Shelter in Oakland, perhaps the shadiest venue I have ever been to, I remember jumping onto the stage and, unlike the others who dived off into a fist-throwing crowd, I stood at the stage’s edge and watched the entire show from the best seat in the house.  I saw them at the Troubadour with mathcore band Candiria, who also quickly became a mainstay in my music collection, and anywhere else I could.

The Discography

Throughout my fanaticism, VOD has put out three more albums.  “Imprint” was a step in a new direction that, while still amazing, was not the same VOD I knew, but I loved it anyway.  “For the Bleeders” was a return to classic VOD, and songs like 7/13 and Formula for Failure quickly became my new favorites.  Their final full length album, “From Bliss to Devastation”, also went in a different direction that didn’t quite do what the “Still” EP, “Vision of Disorder” and “For the Bleeders” did for me, but as a musician I understand every band’s need to explore new territory.

Unfortunately, it seemed that “From Bliss to Devastation” was the last experimenting VOD would do.  In 2002, they went on a hiatus and ultimately broke up, and it was me who went from bliss to devastation.  One of my top 5 favorite bands of all times – among the ranks of Led Zeppelin and Tool – might never play again.

A Bittersweet Surprise

Almost exactly two years ago, in October of 2009, I received a text message.  A good friend working for Live Nation had extra tickets to Slipknot at the Palladium, a great venue where a Tool show arguably led to me moving to Los Angeles.  I’m not the biggest Slipknot fan in the world, but I’m a huge fan of free concert tickets, so I went.  One event led to the next, a friend said beer would be cheaper at a bar than the venue, and we showed up late to the show.

As we walked in we headed straight to the bar where, as we waited, there were TVs overhead playing the show as it happened on stage.  I ordered, looked up, and a strange feeling set in.  “Dude,” I said as I yanked on my friend’s shirt, “is that fucking VOD?”  It couldn’t be, my friend assured me, they had broken up 7 years earlier.  But despite the tiny screen, despite the only sound being whatever muffled mess carried its way down the long hallway from the main room and into the crowded and noisy bar – I realized who was on stage only 50 yards away.  “That is fucking VOD!” I said.  I grabbed my beer and bolted down the hall.

By the time I realized what was happening and got into the concert hall, I would come to find out that VOD was performing the 2nd to last song of their set.  But in what must have been an act of God, their final song of the night was, hands down, my favorite VOD song of all time – D.T.O.

Every Slipknot fan looked at me like a freak as I whipped 2 foot dreadlocks wildly around the crowd, “dancing” to one of my favorite songs of all time.  Although it was only one song, and to have missed the set was heartbreaking, to see VOD back on stage for even one track was more exhilarating than I can do justice.  In 4 short minutes I went from 0 to 120 mph and broke into a full sweat.  And then it was over.

Later I would go to the merchandise booth to see if there were any VOD shirts.  A guy sat on the counter next to me.  I was too busy looking to see if I could pick up some swag to pay attention to him, when I asked, “Are there any VOD shirts?”  The merch girl told me I was just in time, “He was just about to pick them up,” she said, pointing at the guy sitting on the counter.  I looked up to see VOD lead singer Tim Williams sitting one foot away.

I don’t get star struck very often, but frankly, seeing VOD play after 7 years believing they would never play again had been a super-charged and emotional experience.  I flubbed what was supposed to be a compliment about how important the band was to me, and probably just sounded like an overgrown teenager with poor social skills.  Tim humored me with a sincere thanks as I departed with my bad ass t-shirt.

The Enemy by Vision of Disorder

And that is why today, October 17th, 2011, may be one of the most personally rewarding days in the history of my adventures with Earbits.  After a fortunate few reunion shows and whatever other miracles have led to it, Vision of Disorder has recorded a new single in anticipation of a new, soon to be released album.  After a brief exchange with the band on Facebook, The Enemy is now playing on Earbits Radio.

If you’re expecting an unbiased or musically educated review of the new track by Long Island’s hardcore poster children, you have come to the wrong place.  After nearly a decade of no new music and the expectation that there would never be any, The Enemy could not be a more welcome release for this 15-year fan and I can only tell it like I know how.  But lucky for you, one need not be unbiased to tell you what to expect from the latest VOD release.  It is a face-ripping, drum-slamming hardcore masterpiece that instills in me every hope that the upcoming album is going to be classic Vision of Disorder on every ridiculous level.

The first time I turned on the song I was reminded of What You Are off of their album Imprint, a great song but not one of my favorites for the simple fact that it had little of the epic VOD hardcore drum/riff breakdowns that turned me into a fanatic.  Like What You Are, The Enemy starts with ultra fast drums and shredding guitar leading into a more melodic chorus.

But then, it happens…

One minute and twelve seconds in, the song downshifts dropping into a signature VOD mind-fuck that my roommate, the Film Composition teacher for USC, just spent 10 minutes trying to explain the mechanics of to me.  From bullet train to freight train, VOD is back to its hardcore roots with a vengeance and there isn’t a fan on earth that would be disappointed by this revisit to their original style.  And yet, the evolution is crystal clear.

Just like, Element, the song that would be my induction to hardcore music and VOD, The Enemy is a roller coaster with death defying drops at 2:24 and 2:57, signature Cohen tom rhythms at 3:04, and a change into half-tempo at 3:12 that you’d have to be dead not to bang your head to.  At 3:26 Tim is back in it with the sound that captured me from day one, a unique vocal style that drags out the notes in an angst filled splendor that I’ve heard many try to accomplish and none succeed.  Before the song is over, it goes into an all out drum blitz, a new guitar shred, and a double barrel version of the earlier bullet train before ending at its final resting place.  And just like a roller coaster, I am back in line and pushing my way toward the front.

The Enemy has just climbed to the top as one of my favorite new releases in the past several years.  If the new track is any indicator of what’s to come on the new album, it will be the revitalization of my love of hardcore music.  If you haven’t already clicked above, go listen to The Enemy immediately and hold onto your face.

When you’re done… Join VOD on Facebook to brace yourself for what I hope is an upcoming album support tour

And to the band, after 15 years of non-stop listening, thanks for everything you’ve done over the years, and every show that it was my pleasure to attend.  Above all that, a big fucking thanks for joining us on Earbits.  It’s a landmark day for me personally and I hope to work together for some time to come.

VOD coming straight for your face.

Joey Flores
CEO, earbits.com
[email protected]
Listen at www.earbits.com
Connect with us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/earbits
Listen on iPhone: itunes.apple.com/us/app/earbits-radio/id397894402
Twitter: @earbits

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