8. Web of Iniquity
It may only be July but I have heard it already. Vice: The First Chapter is unequivocally THE metal album of the year. Vice are a metal band from Manchester in the UK and have been building up to this record for a long time. It reeks of sheer precision and songs that have been truly ached over, like a good wine that has been left to age.
Wrath opens delicately, ushering in the mammoth production that lays in wait once the drums burst into life. Lead man Tom Atkinson's visceral vocals tear through this track whilst at no point ever becoming muddy or without focus; we get a sneak glimpse of the guitar prowess that lays dormant in the tracks beyond it.
Next track Gluttony we get to see some progressive metal elements with the angular timing of the riffs and sheer sophistication of the guitar work as we slam into the heavy with the vocals. Gluttony also shows how damn melodic Tom's voice can be. We hear his vocals absolutely soar within this chorus and the energy is relentless. Shrouded with harmony and power it is a song born to be played live.
We then get to Pride and Sloth. Two real hard hitting songs with some horrendously infectious grooves. The influence of Machine Head is evident here but it bares its own resemblance well.
Lust is a sprawling 11 minute instrumental monolith. Personally I hate instrumentals so I won't pass judgement. To me they are songs that are just in need of vocals. My only nitpick of the album.
Greed is the lead single from the album and is a monstrous song, a blistering chorus and showcases that beautiful twin guitar attack between Jack and Tom. The most dynamic guitar duo I have heard in years.
My absolute favourite on this record is Envy, a speed metal track almost. Showcasing the unsung hero behind Vice. Connor Summers drumming throughout this record is utterly sublime, a true professional and demon behind the kit. He makes this album vibrate and sing all on his own. The chorus within this song is exceptional, could imagine it getting some great radio play if it was released as a single.
Web, the final track is all about those twin guitars, ending with the most impressive dual guitar solo, every melody and lick is one you want to sing.
Make no mistake Vice have an absolutely formidable debut record that I would put up with Iron Maiden, Metallica and Dio. They have hit the ground running at a thousand miles an hour.
With slots played at Bloodstock, Wildfire, and now confirmed for Hammerfest and HRH Metal next year, watch Vice soar.