Album Reviews

Vangough – Between the Madness Review

vangough_cover

Released By : Self-Released

Release Date : November 2013

Link : http://www.officialvangough.com/

 

 Line Up:

Kyle Haws – Drums

Jeren Martin – Bass

Clay Withrow – Guitar/Vocals

 

Tracklist:

1. Afterfall

2. Alone

3. Separation

4. Infestation

5. Schizophrenia

6. Between The Madness

7. Vaudeville Nation

8. O Sister

9. Thy Flesh Consumed

10. Useless

11. Depths of Blighttown

12. Corporatocracy

 

My first introduction to American Modern Progressive Metal act VANGOUGH was actually only about a month or so ago when I heard some audio snippets of this very album, and was instantly intrigued by what I heard. I’ll skip the middle of the story and just get to the part where I tell you that my copy of BETWEEN THE MADNESS arrived a few days ago, and I haven’t been able to stop listening to it since. During my research for this review I discovered that VANGOUGH had already released a couple of albums prior to this one and the general consensus has been that they are a fantastic band with a big, bright future. I’m still trying to work out how I missed a band that has such huge wraps, but better late than never right?…

Musically, BETWEEN THE MADNESS is more of a modern take on the Progressive Metal sound, sitting somewhere in between say, OPETH and A PERFECT CIRCLE, with some METALLICA thrown in, but the sound is very consistent all the way through the album, while still having plenty of little nuances that ensure each track brings something slightly different and unexpected…just like good progressive music should be. Some of the backing vocals also add a touch of Symphonic bombast that occasionally shows up just to shake things up even more. The overall sound also has a real dark feel to it that just adds so much to the emotive vocals and lyrics.

Speaking of vocals… Frontman Clay Withrow is absolutely amazing on BETWEEN THE MADNESS, and while I don’t want to take anything away from the exemplary musicianship and songwriting on offer, it’s the vocals that are the biggest highlight for me personally. Withrow has so much raw emotion in his vocal delivery that it is just plain scary. Seamlessly flowing from a James Hetfield-esque metal voice straight into an operatic and mesmerising Maynard J. Keenan style modern rock voice and back again without losing any power at all. The album is quite dark and gloomy lyrically too, which just gives all the more avenue for Withrow to throw everything at making you feel everything he felt as he wrote these songs. This particular nuance may well be what sets the band apart from the Progressive Metal pack. While most prog bands have their main emphasis on insane musicality and a sort of “happy” and “up” vibe, VANGOUGH still have plenty to get excited about on a musical scope, but it’s the combination of deep, meaningful lyrics and a stunning vocal delivery that is front and centre in the mix.

I hesitate to give albums top marks, because with that usually comes a barrage of people asking how it can possibly be perfect. But honestly, I can’t think of any way that BETWEEN THE MADNESS could have possibly been any better. It is easily my favourite progressive album of 2013 and one I wholly recommend to anybody with progressive tendencies. If you have a progressive music fan in your family, pick them up a copy of the new VANGOUGH album for Christmas… It might just be the best present they receive this year. Also, for those that may have tired of the prog scene, this album is not like anything you may have heard before, so get behind these guys and check them out. VANGOUGH are pushing the boundaries of progressive music in new and interesting directions and I’m happy to call myself a new dedicated fan. All I have to do now is try and get a hold of some of their previous works to add to my collection…

 

Written by Zeezee

Ratings    Zeezee    10/10

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