Vangough has been busy. On the heels of their previous album, 2013's Between The Madness, they've toured with prog monsters Pain Of Salvation and Fates Warning over two years, respectively. On the former tour Vangough founder, songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist Clay Withrow played guitar for Pain Of Salvation. After these events, they dropped a live album, aptly titled, Living Madness. Vangough returns with their fourth album, Warpaint, once more wholly self-produced and released.
When it comes to Vangough, especially if you've followed their ten year career with some interest, you pretty much know what's ahead in a new album. Warpaint is dark and heavy, introspective and foreboding, progressive heavy metal. It's the essence of Withrow's musical and lyrical approach. Heavy and monstrous riffage are reinforced by an equally deep and brooding rhythm section. After these things, come Withrow's soaring to shrieking guitar solos. And that in turn might also describe his continuing vocal style. Withrow has some range, but it's not so much musical, like octaves, but rather in emotional vocal presentation. He can go from subtle and smooth to deep raging to raw shrieking, and the song arrangements seem to favor his vocal nuances. But these things are not to diminish bass or drum performances. The former is instantly clear, driving both rhythm and groove. With the latter, Kyle Haws adds the same, but can be raging and bombastic. There's pure fury in drum line of The Suffering, notably in the latter third.
Some mention of the songs then. The typical Vangough deep and brooding progressive metal can be found with Morphine, The Suffering, and Gravity. Yet, something more subdued comes with Till Nothing's Left, moving with less severity and heaviness. It's by contrast, lighter. But the signature Vangough piece here is perhaps Black Rabbit, which likely tells the tale of Watership Down's Black Rabbit of Inle, the grim reaper of the rabbit world. Ideally, if you know the story, the tale is perfect fodder for Withrow's musical imagination. The arrangements sways between gritty and heavy riffage and moments of strange calm.
All in all, Warpaint is consistent and constant Vangough, delivering their version of heavier, darker, and brooding progressive metal. If you liked what they've done in the past, you will probably dig this.
Warpaint is consistent and constant Vangough, delivering their version of heavier, darker, and brooding progressive metal. If you liked what they've done in the past, you will probably dig this.
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