“We’ve got nothing to prove, man. We’ve proved it already. We just do this because we like to do it.”
The preceding statement neatly encapsulates both the outlook of Vision of Disorder frontman Tim Williams regarding the band’s return from a sizeable break and his conversational style. Immediately friendly, but usually succinct in his responses, he’s rightfully proud of the impact the Long Island crew’s fusion of hardcore and metal has had on wider heavy music. However, he doesn’t spend much time reflecting on it.
After forming in 1992, the band released two vital records (their 1996 self-titled debut and follow-up Imprint two years later) and one less well-received effort, 2001’s From Bliss to Devastation. The latter was widely maligned for introducing elements of nu-metal and grunge into the mix. Disbanding shortly after, Williams subsequently participated in other projects including Bloodsimple, which also featured VOD guitarist Mike Kennedy. They briefly reconvened in 2006 before a fully-fledged reformation occurred five years ago. The crushing The Cursed Remain Cursed album, released last year, clearly signalled their intentions.
“I was playing with other bands so I wasn’t really on the sidelines,” Williams explains in that thick accent from his Brooklyn home, when asked about the union of metal and hardcore becoming so commercially viable during their hiatus. “But as I observed it, I just thought it was funny. I thought that’s just the way life is. It’s all good man. The music business is never a finite business. It’s very all over the place at all times. It’s kinda like the ever-expanding universe; there’s no direction, it goes all over the place.”
What was his reaction when the phrase “metalcore” started being more widely accepted? “What I thought was really interesting was people were using our name as trailblazers of metalcore, like we spawned this term and this scene. I thought that was pretty funny, because we just played music. We never thought we were starting anything. (Their main influences were) anyone from Pantera to Alice in Chains to Radiohead, to The Doors, Sick of it All to Madball. It was all over the place.
“It goes both ways, because back in the early days it was very categorised, but there were only two categories – you were metal, or you were hardcore. Then all of a sudden you were metal/thrash or hardcore, and then I guess (for) a couple of years it stayed like that. Then all of a sudden… I couldn’t even name how many forms of metal there are right now. I don’t even know. I just think the more good heavy music out there, the better. It’s better for the scene, better for the shows, better for the bands that go out on tour. It’s better for everybody. So as long as it’s good, have fun and play. If you suck, you suck,” he laughs.
By all reports, Vision of Disorder certainly doesn’t “suck” in the live environment. Australian fans will find this out soon enough when they head our way as part of the Soundwave Festival. There’s also a couple of mouth-watering side shows with fellow hardcore luminaries Sick of it All and Madball taking place.
“I think it’s definitely old school, but I definitely think we will be getting a bunch of new fans as well,” he says of the typical punters attending their recent shows. “VOD does pretty well live; we got some killer songs lined up and I think between the old fans going pretty nuts, a lot of the new kids are going to jump on board.
“It’s totally ferocious. We were crazy on-stage; we’re just as crazy now as we were then. It’s what you have inside. We’ve been doing this for so long; we don’t do it for the money, we do it because we love it. Whether you’re in the studio or on-stage, you’re getting us personally getting into a zone. Whether that’s a crazy zone, a meditative zone, or just being in your own place where you’re in front of your fans and everybody’s going crazy. There’s all this energy going back and forth; this is not a pre-meditated thing, this is something that just happens while you’re on-stage.”
The aforementioned side shows are also a wet dream for crossover fans, too. Loud certainly won’t be missing this rare opportunity to catch these three acts on one stage. “Yeah, I’m really excited,” the vocalist enthuses. “We knew we were going to be a couple of side dates. We were wondering who they were going to be with, and like, boom, we found out and it couldn’t be better. Sick of it All and Madball; I wish that bill was in America.”
It must be a tad surreal that it’s happening Down Under of all places. “Yeah, it’s pretty funny, man. Only in Australia I guess. They’re our peers. We played with them over the years countless times and they’re good friends. We don’t see them very often; a lot of them don’t live in the state anymore, but whenever we see them, whether it’s professionally or out in the street, it’s always good. They’re good people, professional musicians and really good at what they do. We’re excited and honoured to share a bill with them.”
While all three bands proudly represent hardcore’s “old guard”, they’ve also recognised the changes within the music industry and world at large. This includes new methods been developed to connect with an audience. Vision of Disorder is particularly active on Twitter, their account often posting in-jokes and amusing banter. Williams remains tight-lipped about said tweets, though. “It’s a few undisclosed members that dabble in the Twitter-sphere if you will. But we can’t release any identities; we don’t want any death threats,” he adds with a laugh.
While amused by it, he also explains that such interaction is really just an extension of the fan-friendly ethos they’ve always encouraged. “I think it’s like the funniest fucking thing ever; I can’t believe something like that, these quick little sentences became one of the main focal points of having your band out there. I think it’s hilarious. We’ve always been a band that is somewhat accessible. We’ve always been close to our fans and if a fan came up to us. We might be like this tough, crazy façade but if you get to meet us as people, we’re just like everybody else. We just want to have fun, joke around. We’re playing music to escape the everyday life and have a good time. The Twitter thing, it’s weird. It gives you that channel, but you don’t even have to be there with anybody. It’s pretty funny.”
Brendan is Loud‘s contributing editor and also writes for Themusic.com.au
Vision of Disorder plays the sold out Soundwave Festival.
You can also catch them with Sick of it All and Madball at the following shows-