Ruben : Lots of the relatively lesser known bands take their inspiration from an obvious source. There are for example battalions around that copy the likes of Halloween and Stratovarius. And the German outfit Vanish, who in their fourteen years of existence are about to release their second ever album? Do they have a clear source of inspiration? Yes, and it's Symphony X. But Symphony X is not a band that's easy to copycat. Where Russel Allen is one of the best metal singers of all times, there are only a few that can match his vocal power. Lyrically and musically they belong to the best of the best in the progressive scene. Luckily I can say: Vanish did a fantastic job!
Vocalist and keyboard player Bastian Rose is a brilliant singer. His voice is greatly comparable with that of Russel Allen, but Rose knows where he can't follow. That's exactly where he fits in his own sound and techniques. It's a good mix that actually take the entire album to a next level. The album opens with 'Come To Wither', an intro that lasts for a minute and a half which starts with soft piano and vocals, but then flows into radio broadcasts. They tell us about the end of the world. After those, not so happy, messages the release kicks off with the powerful 'Great Collapse'. It greatly stands for what the album is about. Powerful guitars by Rhomas Rösch and Philipp Schönle, a solid sound and the vocals to bind it all together. Where the music sounds a bit sloppy at times, the vocals really tie the loose ends together. And the entire album is like this! One highlights is followed by another and another. 'Renewal', 'Bless This Buried Child', 'Silence' and 'Hollow' are all very good, solid songs. 'Hope Shall Rise' is my personal favourite. The lyrics are spot on, just like most of the album, the music is beautiful and thoughtful and that combined with some nice powerful riffs. In the end everything comes together with 'The Grand Design', which exists from the piano tones that we recognize from the intro and some textual references from throughout the entire album. With it's lovely relaxed outro it fits right onto the intro again. The album is kind of like a circle.
So here you go. It is possible to copy the best elements from an existing band without the usual predictable and boring songwriting. Vanish simply does a great and is a perfect addition to the current power metal scene. Hopefully these guys get enough time and money to go on a lengthy tour. We might hear a lot more from these Germans!