Vision of Disorder’s “Imprint,” released in 1998, stands as one of the seminal albums of that era.
V.O.D. was a New York hardcore band that has been instrumental in shaping both the post-hardcore and metalcore genres over the past few decades, in large part because they were heavy enough to crossover to the world of mainstream metal like their peers in Earth Crisis (at the time, the Roadrunner Records seal of approval and marketing budgets didn’t hurt either).
“Imprint” captures the raw energy and aggression that Vision of Disorder was known for, coupled with a keen sense of melody that made their sound distinct. Each track, while deeply rooted in hardcore, showcased the band’s ability to traverse the boundaries of metal, punk, and even alternative rock, a synthesis that gave them a broad appeal.
Sonically, the record also sounded dirty and raw as hell, without somehow losing punch and clarity. It was an intentional complete 180 from their previous full length, the also incredible but very polished and mechanical sounding “green drip.”
Tracks like “Colorblind” and “By the River” highlighted the band’s versatility, juxtaposing guttural screams with melodic hooks. But it was their collaboration with Pantera’s Phil Anselmo on “By the River” that added an even thicker layer of intensity to the album. And given Phil’s stature as one of the most famous metal singers in the world, it got a ton of music fans in the late 90s to give Vision of Disorder the time of day in a world where they might not otherwise have been on the radar of your typical Pantera fan.
At the time, it was also a wonder that a relatively small act like V.O.D. was able to get a superstar like Phil on the record. So how’d it happen?
Thankfully, the podcast Meep Meep sat down with Vision of Disorder’s Matt Baumbach and Mike Fleischmann to dissect the making of Imprint and its lasting legacy. As part of that chat, the guys revealed that they didn’t pay Phil really any money at all, surprising given how huge Pantera was at the time and how well-financed Roadrunner Records was (as transcribed by The Pit):
“We had to pay him (Phil) $1. There had to be an official exchange of money. Maybe it was $100, but some small, arbitrary amount had to be paid in order to make it an official deal.
One of our best Ozzfest moments was on Phil’s bus watching the Tyson/Holyfield fight when Tyson bit Holyfield’s ear off. We were actually in Vegas that day for Ozzfest, the day of the fight… Pantera paid for the pay-per-view of the fight on the bus and we saw how infatuated Phil was with boxing.
So we thought, it’s cooler to give him a gift like that of something that he actually likes instead of just like here’s five thousand dollars or something. And it was the sickest time for us, and I can say for Phil, too, actually it was the funniest thing, watching Phil Anselmo reacting to the fight after Tyson bites Holyfield’s ears.
Scott Ian from Anthrax was there, too, and everyone was like what the fuck is going on? It was the weirdest moment in sports history, watching a guy bite another guy’s ear off. What a weird day.
And from what I remember, seeing him (Phil) years afterwards, he said I’ve still got those gloves, brother. It was always something he remembered.”
A pretty cool story indeed. And if you’ve never heard “By the River,” it’s very much worthy of your few minutes now. Give it a listen below: