Vanishing Point – Dead Elysium – Album Review

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Artist: Vanishing Point

Album Title: Dead Elysium

Label: AFM Records

Date of Release: 28 August 2020

I think there will be many of you who are fed up to the back teeth of me going on about certain bands within the confines of manofmuchmetal.com and on my various social media platforms. One of those bands is Vanishing Point, but I make absolutely no apology for it, because if bands are special to us, then we must never, ever stop spreading the word about them. Without it, the sad fact is that these bands may not survive. Brexit, war, pendemics…the world isn’t an easy place for music to thrive, especially those great bands that find themselves in the underground because they refuse to tow the line and instead write the kind of music that makes them happy rather than rich. I have the utmost respect for these artists because it must be tough, but they return time and again, bringing joy to the enlightened few. Vanishing Point are one of these bands. They create what they want to create, genres and styles be damned. As a result, I’ve been a fan for twenty years.

As a fan, it has been a torturous wait of six years since the Australians released their critically-acclaimed ‘Distant Is The Sun’. Much has happened behind the scenes and, as ever, I look at things with a glass half full; yes, we’ve had to wait a long time, but at least the band remain in business and have finally returned with a new album. And, to be fair, things could have gone very differently because during those years, there have not only been personal struggles, but two significant changes in the line-up as well. Out have gone Adrian Alimic and Jordan Trevan, replaced by bassist Gaston Chin and drummer Damien Hall respectively. They join vocalist Silvio Massaro, and guitarists Chris Porcianko and James Maier to complete the 2020 line-up of the band.

None of this matters however, because within a minute of pressing play, it’s like the Australian melodic progressive metal band have never been away. Their sound, at least to me, is instantly recognisable and hits me like a wave of power, enjoyment and sheer passion. Principally a melodic metal band, there is just enough of a hint of prog within their music to provide extra depth and longevity to the material, as well as a large dose of sophistication. This band know how to push my buttons and they do it with such ease and flamboyance. Six years? Nah, it feels more like six minutes.

First up is the title track and the opening single that was released a little while ago. And what a little marvel it is; heavy, dramatic, and blessed with some of those glorious melodies for which the band is known and loved – the chorus is an addictive thing of beauty for sure. There’s also more than a hint of prog within the composition, albeit not the kind that’s in your face or an exercise in frivolity; more, the various shifts and transitions demonstrate a songwriting ability that extends beyond the simple verse-chorus-verse structures. In every position is a performance that’s tight, composed, and incredibly adept, from crisp, pin-sharp riffing to commanding rhythms. It also offers us our first listen to the utterly delicious tones of vocalist Silvio Massaro, easily one of my personal favourites since I first heard him sing on ‘Tangled In Dream’ around the turn of the millennium. If there was any doubt that the six year gap and line-up changes might have signalled a downturn in the quality of this outfit, the opener quickly expunges it.

The next few tracks then do their best to go further and suggest that ‘Dead Elysium’ could be a strong contender as their very best yet. For one, this may be their most varied offering to date, as well as the most sophisticated and layered in terms of the orchestration that bathes the record, all created by Porcianko himself.

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‘Count Your Days’ comes rampaging out the blocks, thanks to muscular riffing, pounding drums, and layers of orchestration to underline my previous statement. And then, a little unexpectedly, we’re hit with an enormous 80s AOR-like chorus that’s a dream to listen to, especially when coupled up with the bridge that precedes it, both of which nicely counterpoint the beefy instrumentation that surrounds them, not to mention the wailing guitar solos that also emerge in the latter stages.

Massaro goes solo to open up ‘To The Wolves’, before being joined by dramatic orchestration and a slightly more progressive feel before, out of nowhere, another delicious chorus knocks me off my feet. I love the driving rhythms and solos that accompany this cracking track as well.

The pace is slowed a touch by ‘Salvus’ which has been one of my favourites since the first spin. The guitars are wonderfully heavy, but overall, the song is warm, inviting and very powerful, full of emotion. For those that know, it has a vague ‘Bring On The Rain’ vibe to it, which I adore. The chorus is full-on goosebump territory, with Massaro giving another flawless performance behind the mic.

Believe me, I could quite easily offer a track-by-track, blow-by-blow review of ‘Dead Elysium’ but instead, let me just state that this record does not have a single filler, with every song worth your time and attention. However, a couple more songs deserve their moment in the spotlight, so please indulge me.

‘The Fall’ is absolutely and completely your archetypal Vanishing Point track, in that it is bursting with energy and raw passion, not to mention killer melodies and equally killer chorus. It was a grower to begin with but it has become a favourite of mine, deservedly so. And, speaking of growers, ‘Free’ is another. It is just about the longest track on the record, as well as possibly the most ‘progressive’ too. I love the flow, and the way is builds, to unleash a powerful chorus, only to wander off into other directions again before striking with a massive final section that once again sets my hairs on end. Every. Single. Time.

Oh and I have to mention the closer ‘The Ocean’ which references past records within the lyrics, whilst reprising one or two ‘classic’ melodies if I’m not too mistaken on that. Either way, it’s a heady way to conclude such a great album.

The goosebumps and hair-raising seem to have become something of a trend when it comes to this record. It is giving me the same feeling as when I first discovered ‘Tangled In Dream’ around two decades ago, and when I heard ‘Distant Is The Sun’ a few years ago. Listening to Vanishing Point is a joyous experience; it has the power to pump you up, the technicality to impress, vocals to die for, and melodies so killer that they have me begging for resurrection, just so they can slay me all over again. These guys are incredible musicians and song writers. Vanishing Point are an incredible band. ‘Dead Elysium’ is an incredible record, easily one of the best to emerge in 2020.

The Score of Much Metal: 96%

Check out my reviews from 2020 right here:

Unleash The Archers – Abyss
Veonity – Sorrows
Nyktophobia – What Lasts Forever
Ages – Uncrown
Awake By Design – Awake By Design
Black Crown Initiate – Violent Portraits Of Doomed Escape
Gaerea – Limbo
Buried Realm – Embodiment Of The Divine
Navian – Reset
Selenseas – The Outer Limits
Quantum – The Next Breath Of Air
Ensiferum – Thalassic
Long Distance Calling – How Do We Want To Live?
Airbag – A Day At The Beach
Re-Armed – Ignis Aeternum
Atavist – III: Absolution
Frost* – Others EP
Darker Half – If You Only Knew
Atavistia – The Winter Way
Astralborne – Eternity’s End
Centinex – Death In Pieces
Haken – Virus
Pile Of Priests – Pile Of Priests
Sorcerer – Lamenting Of The Innocent
Lesoir – Mosaic
Temnein – Tales: Of Humanity And Greed
Caligula’s Horse – Rise Radiant
…And Oceans – Cosmic World Mother
Vader – Solitude In Madness
Shrapnel – Palace For The Insane
Sinisthra – The Broad And Beaten Way
Paradise Lost – Obsidian
Naglfar – Cerecloth
Forgotten Tomb – Nihilistic Estrangement
Winterfylleth – The Reckoning Dawn
Firewind – Firewind
An Autumn For Crippled Children – All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet
Havok – V
Helfró – Helfró
Victoria K – Essentia
Cryptex – Once Upon A Time
Thy Despair – The Song Of Desolation
Cirith Ungol – Forever Black
Igorrr – Spirituality and Distortion
Nightwish – Human. II: Nature.
Katatonia – City Burials
Wolfheart – Wolves Of Karelia
Asenblut – Die Wilde Jagd
Nicumo – Inertia
The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous
Omega Infinity – Solar Spectre
Symbolik – Emergence
Pure Reason Revolution – Eupnea
Irist – Order Of The Mind
Testament – Titans Of Creation
Ilium – Carcinogeist
Dawn Of Ouroboros – The Art Of Morphology
Torchia – The Coven
Novena – Eleventh Hour
Ashes Of Life – Seasons Within
Dynazty – The Dark Delight
Sutrah – Aletheia EP
Welicoruss – Siberian Heathen Horde
Myth Of I – Myth Of I
My Dying Bride – The Ghost Of Orion
Infirmum – Walls Of Sorrow
Inno – The Rain Under
Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre
Mindtech – Omnipresence
Dark Fortress – Spectres From The Old World
The Oneira – Injection
Night Crowned – Impius Viam
Dead Serenity – Beginnings EP
The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic
Deadrisen – Deadrisen
Blaze Of Perdition – The Harrowing Of Hearts
Godsticks – Inescapable
Isle Of The Cross – Excelsis
Demons & Wizards – III
Vredehammer – Viperous
H.E.A.T – H.E.A.T II
Psychotic Waltz – The God-Shaped Void
Into The Open – Destination Eternity
Lunarsea – Earthling/Terrestre
Pure Wrath – The Forlorn Soldier EP
Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering
Sepultura – Quadra
Dyscordia – Delete / Rewrite
Godthrymm – Reflections
On Thorns I Lay – Threnos
God Dethroned – Illuminati
Fragment Soul – A Soul Inhabiting Two Bodies
Mariana Semkina – Sleepwalking
Mini Album Reviews: Moloken, The Driftwood Sign & Midnight
Serenity – The Last Knight
Ihsahn – Telemark EP
Temperance – Viridian
Blasphemer – The Sixth Hour
Deathwhite – Grave Image
Marko Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart
SWMM – Trail Of The Fallen
Into Pandemonium – Darkest Rise EP
Bonded – Rest In Violence
Serious Black – Suite 226
Darktribe – Voici L’Homme
Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga
A Life Divided – Echoes
Thoughts Factory – Elements

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

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