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Vangough - Kingdom Of Ruin CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.65 | 16 ratings

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3 stars In the past couple of years the name of Vangough has been mentioned in several places and occasions, here in ProgArchives I read some reviews and got interested, though I actually did not look up for their music. Now, fortunately, thanks to Freeman Promotions I could have the chance of listening to their latest album, which gives me an idea of their music, though I am not really sure if in the sound here is the same as in their previous works, since I've not listened to them.

However, I have found myself comfortable while listening to this 2011 release entitled "Kingdom of Ruin", an album that contains fifteen songs that make a total time of 75 minutes (it is a long album indeed). The music here is oriented to progressive metal, with some variations. It powerfully kicks off with "Disloyal", with some screams since the very first seconds, later keyboards and guitar begin to create the structure, and open the gates to what Vangough will offer here. This song is a nice opener, with a cool guitar riff at the end, and with good (though not my favorite) vocals.

"Choke Faint Drown" has again a powerful beginning, but a minute later it slows down and creates a subtle sound that puts a charming mood. Little by little the song is progressing, with keyboards, emotional vocals and metalish guitars. "Abandon me" has a very alike sound, it totally follows the same style. The fact is that here we begin to realize that their style does not necessarily fit under the prog metal realm (they are, without a doubt, but they truly touch the boundaries).

"Drained" continues with that mixture of heavy and mellow metal, here the voice is what really changes the direction, in spite of the music, so for the band it is undeniable that Withrow's vocals are really important, whether you we like it or not. What I like of Vangough is that in songs relatively short, they put several elements and changes of time and mood. "Kingdom of Ruin" starts with a delicate piano, and then the heavier sound appears, with nice keyboards as background, cool drums and once again good changes in mood and tempo.

"Frailty" has a soft sound with piano, mellow vocals and guitar chords. As you can imagine, a minute later it changes and becomes a bit heavier, without being really heavy. There is a moment of tranquility, when even acoustic guitar appear, but later it explodes again. I am not sure if my review is being a bit repetitive, but well, I believe Vangough's style is well defined. "The Transformation" is the shortest track, with a night ambience, with some crickets as background while the piano sounds.

That short piece leads to "The Rabbit Kingdom" which has a happier and hopeful feel, and happens to be one of my favorite tracks of the album. Here I like how the music and the voice contrasts, while the first are creating a heavy or dark mood, the second puts a truly mellow atmosphere. This song is also the closest one to symphonic prog (or symph metal, whatever you want to call it). "Stay" has acoustic guitars at first, and then a rockier and cooler sound which had not been shown earlier in the album. Then the music notably slows down and that mellow voice appears again. And the structure is repeated.

"Sounds of Wonder" is another of my favorite tracks due to its different sound, far from metal and with even some friendly percussion. During the whole track we will listen to a gentle track, which as I said, I like, but I am afraid Vangough's die-hard fans may not love. "A Father's Love" shows what the title suggests and what one can imagine with such name. Piano, mellow music, sentimental sound.

With "Requiem For A Fallen King" the band returns to, let's say their original sound, the one I've been describing in previous tracks; I like the inclusion of keyboards because they put different nuances and sometimes they create the mood, the last part of this song is a good example. "An Empire Shattered" may be the funniest track (with due respect), the vocals and the rhythm are pretty catchy and sounds like music for youngsters. A parenthesis, I also found here a song that grotesquely reminds me of A.C.T.'s Last Epic, surely Vangough are aware of that.

"Alice" is the last of the shorter tracks, and here they use again their mellowest side with piano and vocals. After this song, the album finishes with the epic entitled "The Garden Time Forgot" , whose 14 minutes show a cool blend of melodic, heavy, melancholic, emotional, etc., music. This song is an example of Vangough's compositional skills, and an example of the quality of their members, though I don't dare saying they are the most virtuosos, they truly made a communion with their ideas and put a very good epic track. A highlight, when a flute appears.

After all, I am not really impressed with the album, I enjoy some of the songs but I don't love it at all. I believe this was not my best introduction to Vangough's music, but I wanted to click with it, but after five or so listens, I couldn't. So for me this is a decent albums, good but not essential, three stars.

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 3/5 |


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