Vangough - Kingdom Of Ruin,
The more I hear of Vangough, the more I am incredibly impressed. These guys just refuse to be pigeonholed into any one genre and if anyone deserves to be called ‘progressive’ in the truest sense it is this quartet from Oklahoma. Some would liken them to Dream Theater, and while that is true in certain passages, there are times when they can be as gentle as they can bombastic, as simple as they can be complex, always melodic and bringing together a wealth of influences from bands as diverse as Muse, Porcupine Tree and even Coldplay (and the record label even references Pantera – I don’t think they are quite that heavy, but I can understand where they are coming from). This is Clay Withrow’s band in that he writes all of the music and lyrics, provides vocals, guitar and keyboards but the rest are far from being bit players. Brandon Lopez has an incredibly deft touch at the back, and provides straightforward rock drumming when required to drive the music along but is more than happy to provide fills and nuances that Nick D’Virgilio or Mike Portnoy would recognize. Fully locked in is bassist Jeren Martin while Corey Mast has a wealth of styles and sounds at his fingertips.
For their third album the band decided to provide a simple set of songs in 4/4 time with lyrics about boy meets girls relationships. Okay, so I lied. To tie in with the prog/metal/acoustic/rock music it would only be right and fitting to have grandiose lyrics. What could be better than a concept album telling the story of a Rabbit Kingdom, by a man who is stepping through the veil of two realities. Through the course of the story he begins to realize his link to this other world and has to come to a difficult decision regarding his role in it. Yep - must be prog after all.
This is a band that sound at home whether it is with acoustic guitars and piano, soaring prog or crunching the riffs. Well produced, and with a story that contains bunnies, surely this will get them even greater attention! Indispensible.www.nightmarerecords.com