Album Review: Vince Roy – “Unreasoning Animals”

Vince Roy is a hardcore punk band that takes influence from a variety of post prefixed genres without ever succumbing to them. Which in simpler terms means they don’t rely on power chords to fuel the fire in their music, instead embracing riffs, leads, and whatever-the-hell-else hardcore bands don’t traditionally use. Vince Roy isn’t an experimental or progressive band by any means, they’re just picking and choosing through a long list of punk rock’s sonic vocabulary and applying the words as they see fit. The end result is something akin to a more raw, and instrumentally busy Comeback Kid. Unreasoning Animals is the band’s debut full length, forcefully putting Vince Roy on the map as a force to be reckoned with.

What struck me most about Unreasoning Animals was how quickly it stuck. Hardcore isn’t a catchy genre. It’s a powerful, raw, emotional one, but musically it doesn’t tend to stick with you. It all goes back to its devotion to rhythm over melody, a rule that governs not only the instruments but the vocals. It’s fitting too, rhythm is primal and base– something you feel in your bones– perfect for hardcore. “Fear/Loathing” is permeated with great fretwork, allowing muted single notes to carry the verse and then exploding into a twisting off kilter melody for the chorus. “Scissoring” is another fantastic track, featuring hammer on/pull off lead that lends the track a sense of movement. It’s because of their impressive mastery of the riff that Unreasoning Animals is so good from start to finish, never feeling stagnant, and always stimulating.

Lyrically, Unreasoning Animals is what one would expect from the current crop hardcore bands– angry, but introspective words unhindered by melody. But, Vince Roy are slightly more direct than their peers, more menacing and a bit more fierce. This doesn’t detract from their sound at all, but it does make their imagery all the more visceral and unique– I mean, c’mon, in one song they’re talking about being surrounded by blood drenched lizard-people. What’s more hardcore than that?

Vince Roy combat the potential tedium always inherent in hardcore by keeping Unreasoning Animals short and sweet. At only nine songs long, and only taking about twenty-one minutes of time to consume, it leaves the listener wanting more. Perhaps, that’s the key to the album’s quality, a strategic avoidance of oversaturation. A way to not let the audience hear so much that they discover all the tricks up the musicians sleeves. But, the truth is that Vince Roy have simply written and performed a quality record, and no one aspect is owed responsibility– everything they do, they do right. Unreasoning Animals is an album that arrests you with its intensity and keeps you intrigued with its musicality– Vince Roy is a band to watch on the horizon.

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