Hardcore has had its share of failed attempts at genre bending. Remember when “Southern Metal” was a description bands would proudly use in their bios? Thank God that’s over. Florida’s Vices don’t seem to be trying to start a new sub-genre or anything with their debut EP, The Out Crowd Blues. At it’s core, it’s still a hardcore record filled with violent and urgent songwriting. Their songs just happened to be a peppered with blues riffs and classic rock inspired solos, and instead of using it as a gimmick, Vices plays it tastefully and end up writing some good songs. Some of it sounds like a mix of Suicide File and Guns ‘N’ Roses, and I think that’s a pretty good combo.
A song like “Wake Up” is exemplary of what makes Vices enjoyable. It’s a mid-paced song that simultaneously features biting vocals and laid back minor 3rd notes, and then proceeds to slowly pummel into a driving solo. “Wearing Thin” has a similar feel, but plays more like a rock song than the usual two-step / breakdown formula used by a lot of hardcore bands.
The only real complaint about this album is that the flow of it is kind of funny. Vices seem to be about upbeat ragers leading into slow-burning riffage, but you don’t really find that out until the third song in. The first real song, “Wake Up,” albeit an interesting song, is too long to be an intro, yet lacks the variation to stand as a definitive track. It’s the third track of the EP before we’re finally treated to the blistering “Ramblin’.” These first two songs are great, but are probably a better fit for a full length when there’s more time to let songs breathe, not an EP where you’re best bet is to be running out of the gate.
Despite small shortcomings, there is a lot to be liked here. Vices bring something new to the table without being gimmicky about it. And even their weak points aren’t necessarily bad things. Given the breadth of their songwriting on an EP, imagine what these guys can do given an entire album. I wouldn’t doubt it if they made me actually enjoy listening to blues riffs for a half hour. That would definitely be a first.