‘Kill All My Friends’ is just the usual Void Of Vision approach.
On Friday, Void Of Vision dropped a new single, ‘Kill All My Friends‘, their first bit of new music since last year’s solid ‘Disturbia‘ EP. Now, for most part, the song is… decent. But I sorely miss the grandiose scope of ‘Ghost In The Machine‘, ‘Grey Area‘, and the remaining material off of ‘Disturbia‘. Because this just feels like a mere continuation of that EP’s most basic, most generic elements. Almost like it could’ve been that release’s long lost fifth track. And it honestly wouldn’t surprise me if this song was culled from the same writing and recording sessions as well. Which would be extra odd, as Northlane’s Jon Deiley co-wrote and did some added production for said EP, and as I understand it, the guitarist reprised a similar role here.
Yet in this track, there’s no real progression. Void Of Vision most certainly have better songwriting skills in their arsenal, and are capable of much more, but this newie feels undeniably safe. Aside from a lack of guitarist James Mckendrick’s clean vocals and some subtle electronics skirting the song’s undertow, it’s literally the same ol’ approach for Void Of Vision’s songwriting in terms of riffs, tempo, and structure. Sure, that final blood-letting breakdown is filthy as fuck, but so are a lot of other breakdowns that Void have written over the years too. (Also, regarding this song’s tapped riff part, does anyone else hear ‘The Mixture‘ by Volumes, or is it just me?)
Still, their greatest asset is the hyper energy that frontman Jack Bergin gives off with his incendiary vocal takes, embedding real emotion and rage into his lyrics and overall delivery. For instance, the song’s violent “kill all my friends/kill all of them” outro sees one of the heaviest vocal performances Jack’s cut in recent memory, leaning really hard into this song’s personally bitter theme. Which is the sole compelling aspect of the release: it discussing this tough-to-swallow idea that sometimes your mates are the ones who hurt you the most, whether directly or indirectly, and how that generates isolation and depression. An idea that’s neatly summed up with the tellingly self-critical lyric of, “Have you ever turned into a man that you never wanted to be?“.
We see this theme recreated in the song’s music video, but the clip doesn’t have much bite sadly. Despite how damned hard it tries to with those quick red flashes shown throughout, indicating our character’s growing blood lust towards those closest to him. With our protagonist feeling cut-off by friends and in seemingly harbouring jealously towards the two lovers in the group, and with this metaphor being exaggerated for the sake of the video, it all ends with our leading man murdering his good chums before everything goes red. Leaving us either the implication he killed them or at least him wishing that he could. (“They all thought that the trip to the forest was all for fun, but it was the perfect place to shoot ’em“). Yet the cheap-looking blood droplets that are added over the video’s final scenes during the closing breakdown look amateur, like they weren’t sure how to represent such a violent act on-screen properly. Coming off like those shitty asset-flip games you find on Steam with the horrible HUD blood effects that clutter the screen when you take damage.
As for the narrative, if the band and director Crystal Arrow Films had maybe dropped the “performance” shots (the carpark and forest scenes, the latter of which looks like either Dandenong Ranges or Mount Macedon), the video would perhaps hit harder. Because then nothing would be getting in the way of the plot. Meaning we’d hopefully get more time with this friendship group’s dynamic and history, thus learning more details about why our protagonist is feeling so alienated and violent towards the other characters in the first place. As the video and story stands by themselves, it all just seems a little rushed and forced.
That being said, as per usual with the music this Melbourne metalcore band make, ‘Kill All My Friends‘ is more than likely going to take far better shape when performed live. When it’s played tightly in the moment; when the bounce kicks in for the crowd and where mosh-pits can erupt in-sync with the group’s razor-sharp riffs and grooves. Like at Good Things festival this week! For that really seems to be the domain where Void Of Vision excels the best in as a band. Anyway, go and murder your pals below: