Vitamin X - Age of Paranoia (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Vitamin X

Age of Paranoia (2018)

Southern Lord

Dutch hardcore band Vitamin X has been around since 1997. I’ve been on to them for quite a few years now. Their last two excellent albums, Full Scale Assault (2008) and About to Crack (2012), were on Tankcrimes Records. The two excellent albums before that, Down the Drain (2002) and Bad Trip (2004), were on Havoc Records. Age of Paranoia is the band’s first release for Southern Lord, and should win them an even bigger audience. They deserve it. Few bands have been as consistently good as Vitamin X over the last two decades.

Vitamin X’s sound is a seamless blend of punk, hardcore, thrash, crossover and good old fashioned rock and roll. They can play so fast it will make your head spin, then break into slow 70’s rock jam. Classic rock guitar riffs share space with with rapid-fire thrash downstroking. The guitar solos are all over the place too. Some are frantic and wild, while others have a bluesy swagger. The English lyrics are either political or just about the struggles of modern life. The lead vocals are spit out in a raspy shout, and are sometimes joined by gang vocals on the chorus.

“Modern Man” is the raging opener, and is also a highlight. “Rollercoaster Ride” features a ripping guitar solo by Bubba Dupree from early DC hardcore favorites Void. The title track has a long, slow, effects drenched guitar intro before kicking into high gear for its last minute. “Flip the Switch” has a lengthy, bluesy guitar solo from Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis. Other highlights include “Deranged Degenerate”, “Media Messiah”, “Road Warrior” and closer “Shock Value”. The truth is, there’s not a weak track on Age of Paranoia. Every song makes me want to punch a hole in the wall.

Everything about this record is cool, from the vicious songs to the killer artwork. I had high expectations for this record, and I was not disappointed. This is a hell of a good way to spend 25 minutes or so. I know the year’s not halfway over yet, but as of now, Age of Paranoia is my favorite release of 2018. Whether you’re a fan of 80’s hardcore punk or more modern crossover thrash, Vitamin X deserves a prominent place in your record collection.