**NOTE: Starting with today’s review, Mini-Review Mondays will be renamed to Music Monday Reviews.**
Vanishing Point – Distant Is The Sun
Rating: 4 /5
I first heard of Vanishing Point in 2011 when frontman Silvio Massaro joined prog-symphonic metallers and fellow Australians Divine Ascension for the duet “Answers” (featured on Divine Ascension’s As The Truth Appears – a great album, by the way!). Silvio’s powerful and gravelly yet melodic voice caught my attention right away, and I knew I’d have to check out his band and their music. Turns out Vanishing Point was in the midst of a hiatus due to lineup changes and creative blocks at the time. Now they’ve returned with Distant Is The Sun, their first album in 7 years and a superb example of melodic power metal.
Distant Is The Sun combines the fast tempos and rapid-fire rhythms of power metal with lush keyboards and synths and occasional progressive turns. This description might cause new listeners to think Vanishing Point’s a Kamelot copycat –that couldn’t be further from the truth. Vanishing Point focuses more on guitar muscle and opts for symphonic atmospheres instead of full-blown bombast. Lead single “Where Truth Lies” is a fantastic example of Vanishing Point’s sound, with an incredible chorus that sticks in your head long after the song finishes.
As most power metal bands do, Vanishing Point sticks mostly to uptempo tracks on Distant Is The Sun. “King Of Empty Promises,” the title track, and “Circle Of Fire,” which features Sonata Arctica singer Tony Kakko, are among the strongest of the bunch. The band does foray into ballad territory with the rousing sing-along “Let The River Run” and the forlorn “Story Of Misery.” They also surprise listeners with two exceptional instrumentals, the short yet power-packed “Beyond Redemption” and the delicately acoustic “April.”
At the same time, Distant Is The Sun has its flaws. Power metal has never been known for its variety, and this record’s an example of that. It excels at maintaining energy from start to finish, but after an hour’s worth of almost all uptempo tracks my brain feels as though it’s run a marathon. Vanishing Point also overindulge themselves musically at times. With a few songs, they cram in too many dramatic elements (usually synth-strings) or rhythm enhancers (staccato riffs, machine-gun drumming and double-kicking) all at once and risk overwhelming the listener.
Apart from that, Vanishing Point have done themselves proud with Distant Is The Sun. They capture their genre’s melodramatic glory by relying on guitar muscle and melodic flair and not so much on symphonic bravado. This record should win back long-time Vanishing Point fans as well as attract new followers who enjoy Kamelot, Sonata Arctica, Silent Force, and other similar bands. And when an album can succeed with that goal, you know you’ve got a winner.
Highlights: “King Of Empty Promises,” “Where Truth Lies,” “Let The River Run,” “April”
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Coming Soon: The next Music Monday Review will cover another excellent album – Stream Of Passion’s A War Of Our Own! I’ll also post a Recent Read later this week on Insurgent, the second book in Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” trilogy.