Saturday, May 20, 2017

Vänlade- Rage Of The Gods (2015) Album Review

The first album review I will do on this blog is one I feel deserves the first spot for sure. I actually had not heard anything from this band until the other night, and the way I found out about them was actually through a video Vic Stown of Vindicator and Vulcana (who I have previously done an interview with, and will be catching up with very soon... in interview form) posted on facebook saying that they would be playing at the legions of metal festival. As Vic is a supporter of not only this blog by contributing his time by having an interview posted to it, but also is a supporter of my band Blood Curse comprised of my husband- Aaron Franks as the founding member, lead guitarist, singer, and riffmaster, cool guy of the band (I don't know if I'm one, too.... I think so), our good friend and bassist Micah Young, and that other third person- me. Seeing as how he has been in good bands, supports good bands (not just mine), and seems like an all around nice dude, I was thinking "well, I haven't heard of these dudes, I should give them a listen.". Well, that, I did, and let me tell ya, I wasn't expecting to hear some slop or anything, but DAMN! I was pretty blown away, and immediately started thinking of a review for their album "Rage Of The Gods". So here is my thoughts on the album, and my thoughts on the band Vänlade itself.

So this brings us to the meat of the article. What made you want to review them so bad, what makes them so special, you ask? Well, I'll start out with my first impression; which was the album cover which seems like an action-packed journey waiting to be had in a dangerous land of some sort. Let that set the tone for the album, because I thought- "if the album reflects the vibe you get off the art, then it'll be pretty good", well it brought that and more. The intro to the album sets the ambiance, which is a big factor in the overall sound this record has that is something I look for in all music I enjoy whether it be death metal, power metal, other genres people argue over the division of, you name it. The title track starts out with powerful leads, heavy riffs, and above all- a strong, well put together piece of music. It doesn't throw you in too fast, but slowly speeds up to go into the next track, "Frozen For All Time", which introduces the thundering vocals of Brett Scott. The high notes are consistent and strong through and through, and keep your attention the whole time wanting to hear track after track with anticipation.

If you were to go through the tracks to sample the beginnings, something I like is that none of them sound the same, each has their own sound and almost a new introduction to the band each time, or rather, a new facet of their abilities and riffage. The drum work is unrelenting, driving each track forward with power and ferocity. The bassline is most certainly nothing to scoff at, either with interesting nuances to go along with the rhythm, and stand out to it as well adding even more to each note. I do so enjoy the chanting sort of vocals that are hard to prefect in songs, in my opinion. Sometimes they're used for almost no reason, and is a bit cringey (at least with a certain band I had hard and thought "did they run out of shit to say...?"), but in this case seem very fitting and not a means of filler, at all.

My favorite track on the album has to be "Hail The Protector", one of the two longest tracks on the album. When it first started I remember being mid-shelf-stocking (yeah, I stock shelves, and yeah, I also listen to music at work, if I didn't I would be in a straight jacket by now or in jail because customers are idiots) and stopping what I was doing for a second and thinking "that's a nice intro, right there". It starts off with a short riff, then to a lead with a groovy bassline along with drums behind it, then the vocals rip in, and the song takes off at a gradual pace. The drums double bass varies each time, along with symbol hits to add to the powerful parts, and then going back to high hat, kick, and snare for the mellow parts. The lyrics paint a picture in your head of a valiant hero, a protector, if ya will. My favorite part has to be the leads in this, and the guitar tone is tasty in the mellow sections, as well, really creating an atmosphere to me. The song morphs from one sound to another, while returning to riffs, and more blistering leads, and ends with a great lick- great end to a great song. A very strong piece from the band overall, I think, and the highlight of this album if you were to pick one song to listen to (but why you gonna do that, if the whole album is sitting there? Sitting there on their band camp you should look up?), this would be the one.

From there it continues to be an enjoyable ride of genuine power and speed metal. This is a truly solid release, and serves as a very good introduction to the band. I'd also like to add that the vocals remind me of something of the "No Exit" era Fates Warning in the range and in the sound a little bit. Not sure if you'd agree on that one, but it kept coming to mind for me. They had an album previous to this one as well you should check out entitled "Iron Age" that came out in 2012. These guys have been around for a good while, since 2007 with their first demo, followed by their next demo "Stay Heavy, Or Die". These lads hail from the land of Kansas City, Kansas, and have played a good number of gigs, and are on tour now, I believe. If this article isn't enough to convince you to check them out, I will link my favorite track below. I hope you like them as much as I do, or at least gave them some time for a listen, because they deserve it. They are not a sloppy band by any means, and you can tell they dedicate themselves to their music in that it is thoroughly enjoyable, and very powerful not only in the meaning of power metal, but as a release in the metal world in general. Thank you for reading, and remember- "If you help keep metal alive, the underground will always thrive". Support new bands worth the support, and help them any way you can, metal depends on it! Thank you very much for reading!

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