Review by Zach Brehany
It normally is interesting when you find out about other countries and the music that they just so happen to release. When it comes to Greece, I wasn’t expecting them to have a hard rock/ heavy metal scene (blame my ignorance as an American). But knowing a little bit of their culture, how things are in terms of their world, I can imagine the music that must have been and will be created in due time.
Whenever in our history there is a great moment of pure shock, horror, or a change that has impacted our culture in a significant way. Best case in point would be America during the Vietnam War era. What such incredible advances there were in art and allowing media and music to be a voice for us! In a way, it is almost supernatural in the view point. We are in a time of uncertainty, an epic battle of good and evil, basically living out the end (or maybe the beginning) of a new era of our evolution as a species.
Vault of Acanthus is a band that is basically brand new and seems to have been doing decently in their home country. Performing as opening acts, two music videos, one EP, and only four tracks from them is all we got for now. It is a bit underwhelming, but what can one say?
They seem to draw influence from power metal and symphonic rock in a way that has been done before. The main thing that stands out is their lack of focus on the tone and the structure.
The reasoning for my original comment on them is because that is the vibe I am currently feeling when I listen. For example, let’s take their song ‘An Acanthus Tale”’. The musical voice is decent, but the going back and forth of genres don’t work and feel very alienating and jarring. When it is just mainly piano, I liked it. Those parts feel tight, they work, and enjoyable. But then the band kicks in and it throws you off. For a transition to work like that, you need to find a way to bridge them. Look, as an example, of Ayreon’s ‘The Source’. Using the first track (The World The Day Breaks Down) as my example, it is everywhere. Jumping from style to style, a bit of genre bending and melding, very episodic.
I have nothing against this change in structure, but still using Ayreon, he found a way to meld all of the genres and pieces together in a nice package. I don’t mean to say that they need to copy his style, but there is a way to break that jarring feeling. Maybe start off with the band slowly leak in so we are okay with their section to come in. But that’s just my idea.
Earlier, I mentioned tone problems. That’s for their second single “The Inner Mirror of the Universe”. Reading the description, it talks about the inner mirror that resides within all of us. With us having albums like Nightwish’s “Century Child” and Tarja’s “The Brightest Void/ The Shadow Self”, there is a bar that needs to be reached. Not in terms of epic, grand spectacle, but in keeping the tone and vibe fluent.
When I listen to ‘Mirror…:’, I didn’t get that feeling. The feeling I got is what you would expect from a generic power metal band. That’s the best way to sum up these songs: generic. I hate that because i had high hopes from their first introduction, but there is still room for them to grow. They have a rich culture to draw from, not just from where they are based in, but an entire legacy of rock to draw inspiration from to figure out who they are as musicians. They have a great set up, I can tell there is talent in the members, they just need to release it. Ad who knows? Something great will come from it. But from their press email, it does leave much to be desired.