Vangough's third installment, Between The Madness, is scary. It's release date should have been Halloween or just before. While musically the band strays little from, even builds upon, past styles, with the music, lyrically, this is the darkest, creepiest, album ever.
I worry for founder and lyricist Clay Withrow and his soul: the collection of anger, angst, pain, sorrow, and depression expressed ranges from psychologically cathartic to just damn creepy. You don't want to be around when Withrow moves into the underground concrete shelter and drinks the Jim Jones electric Kool-Aid.
But here's the thing, he expresses these lyrics so well with a style with both,rage and angst, both palatable and agreeable. In other words, he's a damn good vocalist only getting better. His vocal arrangements are one of the best things about this album. With Afterfall, Separation, O Sister, if the creepy lyrics don't get you, Withrow's vocals will send chills up your spine, especially when he gets mournfully quiet as near end of that latter song.
And the music is pretty good too; as said earlier, mostly a continuation on the Vangough theme, only more developed and precise. The music is definitely composed to meet Withrow's vocal arrangement. A good example is Useless: brisk and vigorous when he's raging early on, subtle and nuanced when he's quiet and melodic. Another highlight of the album is the addition of drummer Kyle Haws and his drum interpretations. He's steady, rhythmic, and well-balanced throughout with performances within Afterfall and Separation some of his best.
Some of the best pieces are the instrumentals, especially when arranged with cello, violin, and acoustic guitar as with Between The Madness. The song is simply stirring in the way it conveys emotions somewhere between sadness and submission to the lyrical themes within this record. It's by far one of the best songs Vangough have ever written.
In the end, Between The Madness, with it's dire lyrical content and intriguing music, will be a challenging and entertaining listen for the prog metal fan. I guess that just makes it another good Vangough album. Easily recommended.
Between The Madness, with it's dire lyrical content and intriguing music, will be a challenging and entertaining listen for the prog metal fan. I guess that just makes it another good Vangough album.
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