VANGOUGH - Warpaint
April 28, 2017, a year ago
Although Oklahoma modern prog band Vangough’s Pain Of Salvation infatuation still exists, the trio has toned down the heavy influences just enough to show more of its own true colors on its fifth full-length release Warpaint. However, the band’s strange infatuation with rabbits returns on the cover art. On its seven expansive tracks, Vangough delivers introspective passages that are melodic, progressive and moody with loads of dynamics, layers of melody and textures with multiple shifts in tempos and transitional passages.
Opener “Morphine” begins slowly with an ominous, sludgy riff combined with piercing melodies. After the two minute build up, vocalist Clay Withrow’s emotive clean vocals elicits an uplifting mood which then transitions nicely into some throaty death growls reminiscent of early-era Opeth. The thunderous “Dust” opens with galloping double bass patterns mixed with melodic picking and sharp-edged riffs decorated with an Alice in Chains vibe, especially on the layered vocal harmonies. Upbeat rocker “The Suffering” is a Tool-esque gem that gets slow and sludgy yet delivering a punch when the furious blastbeats and chugging riffs hit you. The moody ominous ambient buildup of “Knell” is reminiscent of a proggy yet modern-sounding Pink Floyd. The proggy “Gravity” powerful vocal line on the chorus, more Pink Floyd-ism abound with the dark, ambient passage yet melodic and flowing with anticipation before a jangly riff and rhythm commences. However, the production is a little muddy and not crisp or sharp enough while at times the guitar solos are mixed too low. In addition, if you’re not fully on board with Vangough’s Pain of Salvation similarities after five albums now, then you’ll never be.