review published: 7/16/2015
Of Virtue are a metalcore band based in Lansing, MI. Salvation, the group's second full-length album is a well-crafted take on a seemingly stagnant genre.
Rooted more on the melodic hardcore end of the spectrum, Of Virtue kicks off the record with the strong opening track "Carpal Tunnel." The song shifts comfortably between heavier and more melodic sections bringing to mind Misery Signals. Midway through, the first of the inevitable clean vocals make an appearance, however it becomes clear rather quickly that Of Virtue are not trying to use them as a catchy hook or chorus. In fact, the clean vocals are used well, acting more to complement than contrast the screamed vocals.
Variation of sound is something that Of Virtue excels at for much of the record. Songs like "So Nearly Free" and "Carving Words" make use of heavy breakdowns and intricate melodic leads while "Old Homes, New Graves" relies more on its clean guitar passages.
"Wreckage," the standout track on Salvation shows the band at their finest. It's heavy chugging opener leads way into a melodic chorus. Here the clean vocals are catchy without coming off as too cheesy. The track closes on a guitar solo, not too simple yet not overly flashy, showcasing the maturity of the group's songwriting.
However, an issue that Of Virtue tend to suffer from is their reliance upon the same structure and technique in nearly every song. Most of the tracks on Salvation feature a mellow break mid-track comprised of distorted vocals screamed over a clean guitar part. It tends to feel a little monotonous by the time you reach the second half of the record. "Dread" and "Rusted Over" plod along in the same vein, sometimes coming off as though you've already heard them before.
If you stick with it, though, you are rewarded by closing track "Cold Reality." It serves as the heaviest track on the album and makes good use of a Shawshank Redemption sample.
Bottom Line: Of Virtue shake things up enough in a tired sub-genre on Salvation to warrant your attention.
Track Listing: 01. Carpal Tunnel 02. Wreckage 03. So Nearly Free 04. Oil and Water 05. Uprooted 06. Revive 07. Dread 08. Old Homes, New Graves 09. Carving Words 10. Rusted Over 11. Cold Reality