Welcome to instalment number twenty-four of my 2020 ‘Album of the Year Top 30 countdown’. Thanks again to you all for sticking with me this year – a cheeky peek at my stats proves that this series in on track to be my most successful yet, as there’s at least three of you who are regularly following it. I’m blown away! In fact, I’m at a loss for words, so I’ll just get on with the main event.
Apologies for my normal, shameless, reminder to anyone new to this series, to check out the links at the bottom of the post to find out who made the cut, from 30 down to 8, as well as my lists from previous years too.
Score Of Much Metal: 96%
Yes, yes, yes, I love Vanishing Point. It’s one of the worst-kept secrets for anyone who has even peeked at my website. The Australian band have consistently created some of the best music with the melodic progressive music scene over the last twenty years. Yet they remain criminally underrated.
I actually conducted an interview with the main man, Chris Porcianko around the release of this newest album. Unfortunately, almost immediately after, my life took a tumultuous turn and it grieves me still that I have not yet published it. After all, I was so desperate to chat to Chris, that I agreed to begin at after midnight UK time and still spoke for well over an hour, dissecting life, music, and Vanishing Point along the way. I will put it together and publish it, I promise.
Anyway, the magic that I felt when I first listened to ‘Dead Elysium’ has not diminished over the past few months, which is why it is comfortably lodged in my top ten for this year. The melodies actually get stronger the more I listen. But, interestingly, the compositions start to reveal just how subtly complex they are in places, something that perhaps I didn’t fully appreciate at the time. There is a lot going on; an incredible number of layers, clever little embellishments, and a level of sophistication that I’m really impressed with. Mind you, I shouldn’t really be surprised because of the longevity of their previous releases – no fatigue or boredom here, however many times I listen, or how many years go by.
And the icing on the cake with this record is the added amount of variety on offer. When you couple this with their more ‘standard’ elements, ‘Dead Elysium’ is an undoubted winner. A superb album.
What I wrote at the time:
“…within a minute of pressing play, it’s like the Australian melodic progressive metal band have never been away. Their sound, at least to me, is instantly recognisable and hits me like a wave of power, enjoyment and sheer passion. Principally a melodic metal band, there is just enough of a hint of prog within their music to provide extra depth and longevity to the material, as well as a large dose of sophistication. This band know how to push my buttons and they do it with such ease and flamboyance.
In every position is a performance that’s tight, composed, and incredibly adept, from crisp, pin-sharp riffing to commanding rhythms. It also offers us our first listen to the utterly delicious tones of vocalist Silvio Massaro, easily one of my personal favourites since I first heard him sing on ‘Tangled In Dream’ around the turn of the millennium. If there was any doubt that the six year gap and line-up changes might have signalled a downturn in the quality of this outfit, the opener quickly expunges it.
The next few tracks then do their best to go further and suggest that ‘Dead Elysium’ could be a strong contender as their very best yet. For one, this may be their most varied offering to date, as well as the most sophisticated and layered in terms of the orchestration that bathes the record, all created by Porcianko himself.
The goosebumps and hair-raising seem to have become something of a trend when it comes to this record. It is giving me the same feeling as when I first discovered ‘Tangled In Dream’ around two decades ago, and when I heard ‘Distant Is The Sun’ a few years ago. Listening to Vanishing Point is a joyous experience; it has the power to pump you up, the technicality to impress, vocals to die for, and melodies so killer that they have me begging for resurrection, just so they can slay me all over again. These guys are incredible musicians and song writers. Vanishing Point are an incredible band. ‘Dead Elysium’ is an incredible record, easily one of the best to emerge in 2020.”
Read the full review here.
The list this year so far…
If you’ve missed my lists from previous years, you can check them out here: