Vanish – A Hint of Solace (El Puerto Records)Wednesday, 5th April 2023
In the crevices of certain scenes lurk musicians or bands that display a professional approach that may not necessarily gain a large following, but demand attention and respect from those faithful legions glued to the cause. Those are this scribe’s initial impressions upon hearing the fourth studio record A Hint of Solace from German power metal quintet Vanish. Active since 2000, most readers in North America probably aren’t very savvy to their previous albums – although 2014’s sophomore outing Come to Wither was released on Massacre Records. Created through months of detailed rehearsal room sessions, the sound contains a melodic meets progressive/power sound – heavy in spots, catchy in others, overall ambitious across its eight tracks to convey a sophisticated, dynamic outlook.
Weaving female narrative sequences in certain tracks lends that extra layer of emotional depth, yet doesn’t deter the musical mainframe of those arrangements – you’ll get deep organ/keyboard lines sitting side by side to circular, thoughtful riffs or harmony runs (most evident in the progressive, epic twelve-minute plus “As Though the Dead Are Here”). Soft to crunchy contrasts immediately launch “Crowdpiercer” into full blown headbanging ecstasy – the mid-tempo galloping main riff sure to elicit cheers when aired live, as the Zak Stevens-esque vocal delivery from keyboardist Bastian Rose mesmerizes as he glides up and down a comfortable multi-octave potent register. Additional vocal screams from guitarist Ben Galster give Vanish a bit more of that modern angst, never deterring the classic power/traditional metal music on display – as artists like Savatage, Mob Rules, or Iced Earth/Brainstorm come to the forefront when exposed to songs such as “Black Elation” and “Walk With Me Through Fire”. The rhythm section has a knack for locking into that proper metal groove platform, not overshadowing the killer riffs but weaving in that magical underpinning – “Act/Live/Resolve” a perfect sample as the churning guitars build momentum to a magnificent chorus payoff.
Vanish possesses a touch of that staccato/modern edge to the normal power metal proceedings, which could get them a wide array of followers beyond the older crowd that tends to prefer this style. A Hint of Solace will be one of those hidden gems to those that love catchy, potent songwriting, strong melodies, and that extra degree of musical flair.