Looking at the cover to Vision of Disorder’s From Bliss to Devastation, it would be easy to expect the worst. Against a black background, a flower in dirty yellows and greens has maggots crawling all over and under it. Vision of Disorder seems to say, “Look at how scary we are! We are using ugly things in our cover art!” Song titles like “Living to Die,” “Itchin’ to Bleed” and “Downtime Misery” don’t quite help the initial first impression, either. But while they lack the technical artistry of Nine Inch Nails or the graceful sonic assault of Tool, Vision of Disorder is surprisingly much better than you would think.
Although the band does tend to fall into the metal/industrial cliché, Vision of Disorder manages to bring some intelligence to its music. With adequately throbbing guitars and hammering drums, the band members bring standard skill to their instruments, but still maintain a higher level of talent than other bands that rely on feedback and overdone electronics. Vision of Disorder is aware of what it is, and despite the prerequisite metal theatrics, there is no artifice to what the band is doing, giving From Bliss to Devastation a strange honesty underneath the genre’s pretensions.
Vocalist Tim Williams has a voice that carries Vision of Disorder’s music well. Gritty and just a bit wounded, he knows how to communicate anger and pain without always resorting to flat-out screaming. Although Vision of Disorder seems to know enough to highlight William’s unexpected singing ability, it isn’t always allowed a chance to show through, like on “Overturn” where he is mostly obscured by all the distortion put on his voice. Tracks like “On the Table”, however, bring the band together, letting William’s range of vocal talents be highlighted by his fellow band members.
It is not a shock, though, that Vision of Disorder manages to overdo it in its lyrics. While some true emotions are communicated with lines like “downtime is gone and I’ve been living obscene / where I lay my head I know I’ll always be free” from “Without You”, mostly the band seems overly preoccupied with death and violence. “You better watch out or I’m going to beat you”, declares “Sunshine” and then later, “I want to hear the sound of a shotgun blast, as I am delivered to black” Williams yells on “Downtime Misery”. While it may be what is expected of them, mostly lyrics such as these come across as mere posturing, as do the profanities that populate most of From Bliss to Devastation‘s songs. The band has obvious abilities to express itself, and it is unfortunate it has chosen to hide behind such unoriginal lyrics.
Vision of Disorder never overreaches itself, and despite its typical metal self-importance, the band manages to bring a surprising amount of talent to its music. While there still remains a sense that the band may not have fully achieved creating a cohesive voice, From Bliss to Devastation proves that Vision of Disorder is a bit more than you’d be led to believe by maggot-filled cover art and death-obsessed song titles.