Raunchy is a great example of what the proliferation of bands and music can create: their name hasn’t made a lot of impact despite having a very unique and well-performed style. Hopefully, that status will change with this release, as it definitely signifies a dedication to their own sound which is accompanied by finesse and hard work. Vices.Virtues.Visions. is Raunchy at their best, no holds barred. The synths are super sweet, the hooks are literally everywhere and the emotional spectrum is constantly kept wound tight, never once letting go of its poppy intensity.
And yes, poppy is definitely the adjective for this album. Providing the meat and bones of this release are insanely infectious beats, almost EDM-like in tenacity and throbbing power. However, it’s also rife with heavy riffing and passages which wouldn’t disappoint any fan of death or power metal. This is one of the true beauties of this album: both influences don’t just play each other, bowing out when the other is prominent. They work side by side. If the sweeter, upbeat rhythms are the meat and bones, the guitars and double bass are the muscles, driving this album forward with simple and catchy groove.
Above all of this greatness reigns supreme one voice with one name: Mike Semesky. Semesky is a recent addition to this band, this is his first album with them, and it already sounds as if he was born in the Raunchy roster. His voice on this album is unbelievably varied, running from deep growls to the vibrato styling more akin to this work on Intervals. There’s no comparing between the way he uses his voice in both acts though: here he focus much more on power, dynamic and a crowning presence at every single moment.
The best example of this range can be found on track ‘Truth Taker’, one of the best on this release. Beginning with growls along the main, heavier riff, Semesky is without peer in his delivery and clarity. However, the verse quickly introduces both breathy intonations reminiscent of pop artists and high range vocals that echo power metal more than pop. Another one of his fine moments is on closing track ‘The Singularity Heart’, perhaps one of the best closing track of the year. This one is emphasizes power metal to a higher degree, with its acoustic guitars and synths. Semesky adapts perfectly, injecting his vocals with the type of harmony and delivery expected of such a shift. His growls are once again on point, tying off this fine album.
Vices. Virtues. Visions. is simply a powerful ride. You won’t find any ground breaking moments here but the entire thing just gets you singing, bouncing and nodding. By owning the hybrid they have created here between 80’s tinged synths and more modern metal iterations, Raunchy have created something truly endearing: a sound of their own. The addition of Semesky is handled flawlessly, exploiting every inch of one of the most promising vocalists working in metal today. We hope they can continue working together for as this sound matures, even greater heights are possible.
Raunchy’s Vices.Virtues.Visions. gets…