Album Reviews

Vanishing Point – Distant Is The Sun Review

vanishingpoint_cover

Released By: AFM Records

Release Date: March 4, 2014

Genre: Progressive Metal

Links: http://vanishing-point.com.au/vp/

 

Line Up:

Silvio Massaro – Vocals

Chris Porcianko – Guitar

James Maier – Guitar

Simon Best – Bass

Christian Nativo – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1. Beyond Redemption (Intro)

2. King Of Empty Promises

3. Distant Is The Sun

4. When The Truth Lies

5. Circle Of Fire

6. Denied Deliverance

7. Let The River Run

8. Story Of Misery

9. Era Zero

10. Pillars Of Sand

11. As December Fades

12. Handful Of Hope

13. Walls Of Silence

14. April

 

I’ve already reviewed some awesome 2014 albums from bands that I think deserve way more attention than they’ve received and, now I have another one to add to that list. Australian band Vanishing Point has been around since the late 90’s, and has released four albums already, yet aside from the most devout fans of obscure melodic prog and power metal bands, they seem to be barely talked about by anyone, which is a shame because they’re so damn good. I was recommended their previous album The Fourth Season and was immediately impressed with it, but shortly after that was released in 2007 it seemed as if the band had taken their name too literally and vanished for a while. Thankfully, they are now back and as strong as ever, with their fifth full length release Distant Is The Sun being a marginal step up from an already impressive album.

Despite the long break between albums, this is still the same Vanishing Point just about nobody knows. Bitter sarcasm aside, though, existing fans of the band will be very happy with this album as it really does feel like they picked up from where they left off with The Fourth Season, and just added some new elements to make a bigger, more epic and all around better album. As before, this is primarily a melodic prog album where the melodies and atmosphere shine through on every track and are the main focus, but this is definitely a heavier, more technical album compared to the last one. They also added a lot more power metal to their music, and the album even features a guest appearance from Tony Kakko on the instant classic “Circle Of Fire”, which is just one of the many highlights.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of this album is the atmosphere. The keyboards are very high in the mix, and there’s a constant a feeling of hopelessness and sorrow throughout the album. There’s also some symphonic elements to add further to the atmosphere. While the faster songs show the band adding power metal elements to their music, it’s clear they’re still best at being an atmospheric melodic prog band. In that regard, I’d say the best comparison to use for describing this album to newcomers would be Evergrey. More specifically, it reminds me of Evergrey at their prime, especially the albums In Search Of Truth and The Inner Circle. This is most notable in some of the heavier riffs, especially on the title track, but also just with the overall vibe I get from certain songs, most notably on “Denied Deliverance”. There’s a similar mix of heavy riffs, dark atmospheres and soul crushing lyrics, all contrasted against the glorious and light melodies, which are further enhanced by a very passionate and crystal clear vocal delivery.

Speaking of which, Silvio Massaro has an absolutely incredible voice, and while he mostly sticks to a lower register, his vocals are very powerful and he always sings with a ton of emotion, while controlling himself perfectly so that the vocal parts are always amazing. He especially excels on the darker, slower songs with the more sorrowful lyrics, which is once again where the Evergrey comparison rings true.

The early part of the album consists mostly of up-tempo songs, where the heavy riffs and epic symphonic elements dominate. In fact, the one area where my comparison goes awry is that this album has way more speed and energy than any album by the aforementioned band, so it’s the combination of these speedy songs with insanely catchy choruses, and the aforementioned darker, more atmospheric songs that make Distant Is The Sun standout from most other recent prog albums. I love every song on the album, but among the speedier songs my favorites include the epic opener “King Of Empty Promises” (which is set up nicely by the epic intro track, which feels like the calm before a storm), the aforementioned “Circle Of Fire”, where Silvio and Tony Kakko sound amazing together, and “Pillars Of Sand”, which is the longest of the heavier tracks, and also probably the most epic song on the album.

Among the slower songs, the highlights begin immediately with the title track and “Denied Deliverance”. But my favorite is the ballad “Let The River Run”, where the extremely passionate vocal delivery and the lyrics add up to make for possibly the best metal ballad I’ve heard in the last couple years. I find it odd that they’d put the similar sounding “Story Of Misery” so close to it, but that too is an excellent song. The album ends with two more excellent slower songs in “Walls Of Silence”, and the acoustic instrumental closer “April”.

After a seven year break Vanishing Point has returned stronger than ever, and hopefully now they’ve signed with AFM they can finally reach a larger audience, as they’d certainly deserve it. Distant Is The Sun is an excellent album, and fans of atmospheric and melodic progressive metal are highly recommended to check it out, while power metal fans should find a lot to like as well.

 

Written by Travis

Ratings    Travis    9/10

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