Local Review: Victim To None – VTN ’20
Local Music Reviews
Victim To None
Victim To None = Power Trip ^ The Beautiful Ones + Higher Power
Victim to None have consistently released new music at least once a year since 2018, and with each release comes more maturity, development and innovation. By relentlessly developing their thrash-metal driven sound over the years, they’ve crafted a release that packs a powerful punch and stands out among the crowd—especially when looking at the current form hardcore has taken within the last handful of years. The resurgence of this thrashy sound is like a squeeze of fresh lemon when compared to the richness of the (very heavily saturated) down-tuned, reimagined ’90s metalcore-era that’s been driven by bands like Sanction, Dying Wish and Knocked Loose, among others. VTN ’20 brings energy, bounce and layered soundscapes to the table, while still being relentlessly heavy and gut-punching.
I’ve never found myself disappointed or wanting more with their releases, but VTN ‘20 is most definitely their best work yet. Sitting at a solid 6 tracks, every single one is a total hit. Singer Elliot McDaniel delivers vocals that sound rugged and beefy, while at the same time, introducing clean cadenceto the record that makes all the difference. When paired with the ravenous, aggressively fast-paced instrumentals fueled by Nic Kartchner (drums), Remington Wright (guitar), Tyler Levie (guitar) and Ian Wright (bass), they all come together to create a hot-blooded force to be reckoned with.
“Will To Live” is a listen-on-repeat track. I swear, I have listened to it over a hundred times since it was released. The energy that’s packed into this song is so amplified and blissfully overwhelming. Over each verse, there’s calculated riffs, intense licks and powerful drums, but swooping into the chorus, the pace changes to be slower and more melodic, allowing for the Alice In Chains-esque clean vocals to shine. I’ve really been loving the integration of clean vocals in hardcore, and this is a perfect example of why. When placed correctly, they can really impact the entire mood of the track. It’s, for lack of a better term, fucking hypnotic, and they do this really well. Although “Will to Live” certainly is a stand-out track from VTN ’20, every single song on VTN ’20 is notable and innovative.
Releases like these remind me that the music scene is still alive, but more so, still growing and changing. Listen, hardcore that leans heavily on the thrashy side hasbeen my new favorite thing. I simply can’t get enough of it. The high energy, punchy, well-rounded riffs and interesting, multi-layered melody dynamics make it stand out a significant amount. Victim To None’s flavor of this thrashy-hardcore subgenre is groovy, dense and exciting. The Power Trip influence that’s rooted in Victim to None is so thick, but they take it in a direction that doesn’t feel gimmicky or unoriginal. I’ve always felt that watching their live set is a total treat, and I can’t wait to revel in this VTN ’20’s magnificence in person. It’s definitely one of those releases that will remain a fixture in my playlist for a long while. –Zaina Price