I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Vanishing Point, ever since buying their debut on the little (and now extinct) record label Angular. I thought everything presented by the short-lived German label; Crises, Eternity X, Twilight Guardians and Vanishing Point were all really good. It has been seven long years since THE FOURTH SEASON and now they are back with album number five, called DISTANT IS THE SUN.
Of course there have been changes with two new members. Founding guitarist, Tom and Adrian (bass) are out and James Meir (guitar) and Simon Best (bass) are in. This means that vocalist Silvio is the only remaining member now. In the interim the bands old label Dockyard went under as well so they have surfaced on AFM Records, probably the biggest label they have been on yet, maybe tied with Limb. The new album sports a nice cover that depicts an angel-like figure hovering over a ruined city, very similar in style to THE FINAL REQUIEM by Axenstar but I’m sure it is just a coincidence. Either way, it is a very dark and effective piece of art. The album has 14 cuts and runs a little over an hour.
Vanishing Point still perform a very enjoyable and admirable type of Progessive Power Metal with some symphonic touches as well. It is a full sound but the core of the bands sound are good, strong songs. The sound is full and powerful but not too busy, they don’t let the orchestrated parts overshadow the guitars. There is quite a bit of acoustic piano but never obtrusive, the sounds just blend well into the songs. After the obligatory opening instrumental piece (with voice-over of course!) the band rip into ‘King Of Empty Promises’ and I knew they had another winner on their hands. DISTANT IS THE SUN is loaded with highlights and great songs with intelligent lyrics that are positive and delivered with clarity and power.
‘Let The River Run’ opens with a lovely, multi-vocal harmonized part before evolving into a very nice mid-paced, power ballad, reminiscent of Pretty Maids, but so much more with excellent use of orchestration to beef up the sound. It finishes with some acoustic piano to bring it all to a gentle end. It is a great song. One of the speedy tracks is ‘Circle Of Fire’ featuring Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica) on guest vocals. He sees and hears the talent in the band as he chose to cover a Vanishing Point song (‘Two Minds, One Soul, from their second album TANGLED IN DREAM) from their second album on his DON’T SAY A WORD EP. To me this shows that even 15 years ago, Tony was pretty plugged in and knowledgeable about the underground Power Metal scene, by picking an obscure song from an obscure new band from Australia of all places! They had covered Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Helloween, Metallica and… Vanishing Point? That’s pretty cool. Anyway, it is a killer cut. The band can still kill and shred with fast simple, songs like ‘Era Zero’ driven by a speedy double-kick attack and a melodic vocal line. The album ends on a quieter note with a simple song called ‘April’ with acoustic guitar and some simple vocal lines, not words, and not quite chanting, but just male and female choral type voices. I hate to use the word ‘pretty’ in a review of a metal album, but it is indeed a very pretty song and a nice way to exhale from an intense and powerful album. Since this review got first published on April 1,2014 (no joke!) it is very fitting song.
If you had perhaps worried that the long break may have dulled the bands capability or drive, the exact opposite happened. Vanishing Point have come roaring back with a vast, intelligent and powerful album of classy, elegant and driving Metal. DISTANT IS THE SUN is a powerful return and I’m sure it will find heavy rotation in the play-lists of many Metal fans.
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