Review Summary: (Insert typical success storyline here,) band gets signed, tours with big name band (Disturbed) and releases an overly produced album that liquefies the bands’ sound into a near vegetative state.
Before gaining recognition with Disturbed throughout the world, Art of Dying wasn't much more than another medium scale rock band from Canada. Their 2007 eponymous debut wasn't necessarily something to be marveled over, but when given contrast to all of the other plain jane radio rock bands in the airwaves they actually stuck out...until now. With the release of Vices & Virtues, Art of Dying has lost the only thing that made them different: their unique sound. By unique sound I don't mean they invented some new genre, I just mean when you heard them you didn't have rattle you're brain to decide whether they were Nickelback, Papa Roach or Saliva. In 2009 Art of Dying signed to Intoxification Records which is the record label of David Draiman and Dan Donegan of Disturbed. With that being said it’s not much of a surprise to see the outcome of this record once it’s been heard. (Insert typical success storyline here,) band gets signed, tours with big name band (Disturbed) and releases an overly produced album that liquefies the bands’ sound into a near vegetative state.
Vices & Virtues is an album made from new songs and remastered songs from the bands’ first album. The overly produced effect I was referring to earlier mostly applies to the remastered original songs. With five songs brought from the old album to the new one, that leaves only an additional six songs (plus the two bonus tracks) written in the last five years. While the new material "Die Trying" and "Breathe Again" is decent at best, there is no excuse for the amount of subpar material that's left here. The five remastered songs are five of the best songs off the bands’ debut album and with the overproduction and mixing of the songs for this album, the songs are rendered nothing more than singles fit for a mainstream radio rock station. Not to say that it wasn't the plan, but with the devoted fan-base that Art of Dying developed over the past couple years its nothing but disappointment.
The rest of the album is filled with more of the same bore, one song featuring that guy from Three Days Grace and a couple of songs slow enough for you to sleep to. The five songs that appear on both their debut album and this one seem totally different after the makeover they’ve received. Before the songs were of the hard hitting, gritty grunge genre; very reminiscent of the mid 90’s post-grunge revival scene. Now those songs are torn to pieces, some tuned down to be more radio friendly and given name changes, others given guest spots to known singers and even a couple were left relatively similar to their original counterparts. Most of the overproduction and simplification of the music wasn’t likely on purpose, but that’s just what you get at the price of being signed to Disturbed’s label.