Vainglory – Vainglory – 3.5/5
Once again, we happen upon a ‘delightful’ female vocalist dominating this heavy/speed band. Released last year, this is a manic fit of heavy metal aggression, with just a few rumblings of tanks and explosions separating you from defiant vocals that make most of their competitors seem like pansies, and quick sweeping guitar solo’s reminiscent of the best the genre has to offer.
Make no mistake, this is all out pin-your-balls-to-the-wall heavy metal, ready to kick you in the teeth with a sadistic enjoyment and then gloat as it shines proudly over your bleeding, unconscious body. The first thing you notice is the guitar work, as upbeat as all speed metal should be, and with a hard hitting aggression that puts some death metal to shame. The drums do nothing to let up on this, standing proud in the mix as it blasts away perfectly complementing the guitars.
And the vocals, I really wasn’t kidding when I said it makes most in the genre seems like little girls (pun intended). Taking a leaf out of the ‘shadowside’ book this is harsh with more than a touch of rasp and a sadistic tone that reminds me of black metal at times, it powers above everything to deliver a knock-out finale in this bands sound, only letting up once for the ballad ‘Undying love.’ But don’t get me wrong, this ballad is far from slow. It may be melodic and emotional, but still has a punch to it, and works as a perfect break from the style on many of the other tracks.
And given all that’s been said so far, it’s a tragedy it couldn’t continue in this manner. Everything gets rather repetitive all too quickly. The guitars for all their aggression fall into the trap of over-using palm muted strings, and it begins to sound like the same ‘chugga-chugga’ riffing that gets tiring all too quickly. The solos are incredibly well done, clearly taking strong notes from the greats of the past, if only too well. They sound stagnant, as though they have already been done, and they fail to create something memorable. The drumming too, whilst perfectly complementing the sound, fails to bring something original to the table and sound monotonous. Even the vocals get tiring. The novelty of her unique and aggressive sound fails to bring something different to the tracks, because of the constant aggression and power behind her voice, there is little variation between the tracks, and I for one had great difficulty distinguishing between many of them.
This album is a decent attempt at a modern take on a classic style, and they do it pretty well. They simply fail to create something unique, or diverse. They play their style very well, but sound all too generic. Particularly as the album progresses, the idea’s seem to dwindle and the tracks become all the more blurred.
Nonetheless, this hyper-aggressive heavy metal band features a refreshing and modern take on a style that has seen very little development in recent years. It’s definitely worth a look from fans of the genre, but don’t go expecting a flash of brilliance. What your getting is a supremely head-bang-able tribute to the classics, delivered by a woman you wouldn’t want to get into a bar fight with.
Highlights: Walking the Dead, Decapitation Attack, Act of God
By T. Bawden