There isn’t a easy way to start a review like this, and that isn’t because of any sort of moral dilemma or controversy. It’s because, when writing about metalcore, pretty much every single combination of words has already been used, be it for the good, the bad or the nondescript. You have to wonder sometimes how things have actually gotten like this, how a genre during its inception would be lucky to get outside of a basement has turned into the monolithic cash cow that it is today. In any case, Void Of Vision are one of the latest to join the fray, and looking at their background information doesn’t exactly fill one with confidence – Australian metalcore band signed to UNFD whose debut full-length Children Of Chrome acts as a vehicle to express disdain for government ills. Hmm, that all sounds quite familiar…
Actually digging into Children Of Chrome gives pretty much the same response as well – it’s not a terrible album, but for a band who actually have something to say and want to get their message across, Void Of Vision are gagging for an identity of their own. But putting that aside for a minute, there are positives on this album – for about six-and-a-half of its eleven tracks (we’ll get back to that), Children Of Chrome does feel suitably heavy and fit for purpose, not harmed by vocalist Jack Bergin’s screams, which feel instinctive rather than stylistic. Opener // is easily the best example, opting for a more of a gritty underground hardcore vibe and recruiting Stray From The Path vocalist Drew Dijorio for an extra bit of bite, while tracks like Blacklist and The Hills certainly have the bluntness to make a sizable impact. For an album as moribund of originality as this, and one that doesn’t hesitate to leap into metalcore’s default instrumental mold whenever it can (though keeping clean vocals as only an accompaniment is a nice touch), Children Of Chrome has its moments of pummeling brutality that work well in its context.
But the biggest talking point of the album comes in Wallow, a track that begins with the same sort of gritty metallic punch that’s been present all the way through, but midway through, the band switch up to the spacious, squeaky-clean metalcore that’s become the laughing stock of the scene, and that’s where Children Of Chrome falls apart at the seams. The remaining four tracks see Void Of Vision attempting to hop on every popular strain of modern metalcore in what seems like nothing more than a shameless attempt at raking in scene points. The spacey interlude of Under Skin; the clinical tech-metal bluster of Red Handed; the arena-baiting Amity Affliction-isms of Fair Weather; it’s a move that sees them shifting from one branch of generic metalcore to all of them, but at least what they were originally doing had some gusto and intent behind it. The final section of Children Of Chrome feels like a grab-bag of metalcore styles thrown together in a way that has complete disregard for any sort of thematic cohesion that runs through the album, and while they’re admittedly fair at what they attempt, it makes Void Of Vision sound even more generic than ever.
And that’s probably the damning fault with this album. It’s an album that knows what it wants to be, but simultaneously has no clue, one that’s laser-focused on the territory of ‘formulaic, done-to-death metalcore’, but is unsure upon where it wants to settle. At least if they’d have stuck with the grittier, more street-level feel that comprises most of this album, it would’ve made it seem a bit better, and not the cluttered idea pulling in all directions that is is. In that respect, Children Of Chrome isn’t awful, but it is misguided, and ultimately that’s what really holds Void Of Vision back.
For fans of: Dream On Dreamer, Stray From The Path, Like Moths To Flames
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Children Of Chrome’ by Void Of Vision is released on 30th September on UNFD.