For Fans Of
In 2011, Vanna are back with their third full-length And They Came Baring Bones. With this release they have moved back to metalcore after trying their luck at post-hardcore for a little while. From the very beginning this album is heavy and in your face. It’s obvious that Davey Muise has worked at improving the sound and range of his vocals, which will definitely please long time fans and Evan Pharmakis’ clean vocals – which have been an outstanding element of the Vanna package from day one – are even better. Since Vanna’s move from Epitaph Records to Artery Recordings their releases sound a lot better and the production value is a lot higher. However, unlike many other bands, the raw sound of their music doesn’t get masked in it. What you hear on the record will be a lot like what you will hear live … only bigger.
As soon as opening track ‘Black Bones’ begins, the pace for the record is set. The combination of Muise’s much-improved roar being carried by the deafening guitars of Nicholas Lambert and Pharmakis let audiences know that this is the same Vanna they have heard before, only stronger, tighter and better than ever. The layering of Muise and Pharmakis’ vocals works perfectly to create a crashing harmony. Fans got a taste of ‘I, The Remover’ before the album was released, but it is obvious this song isn’t a strong point. It doesn’t sound complete enough to be memorable. Whereas ‘Breathing At The Bottom’ is a standout track on the album. It combines everything Vanna do well – fast paced guitars, heavy hitting drum beats thanks to Chris Campbell, thumping bass lines at the hands of Shawn Marquis, deep throaty screams and crisp smooth cleans to split through the chaos – and combines it all a lot better than the 3 previous tracks.
‘Scarlet Shroud’ is the token almost ballad of the album. Featuring clean vocals for most of the track they almost seem to falter, making it seem as if they are only strong in small doses. However, when the instruments kick in and the song takes it up a notch, the track feels a lot more at home. ‘Careless Men Lead Careless Lives’ is sure to be a live favourite. It has bouncy guitar lines carrying it along, as well as big vocals that are sure to get every mosh-worthy kid dancing and screaming. By this stage it is expected that a big track will close the album. So wait for the surprise in ‘White Light’. Taking the tempo down a few notches, the first half of the song is completely stripped back. Featuring echoed guitars and Muise and Pharamakis playing off one another vocally, it creates the most emotional, haunting feeling on And They Came Baring Bones. It may seem like a strange song to end the album, but no one can deny the quality of vocals on the track.
And They Came Baring Bones has all the qualities of a great metalcore album. It is a great release that will have diehard fans of the genre throwing down in celebration. But that is just it; there is nothing that sets them apart from the crowd. They have followed the metalcore formula to a tee – the token (almost) ballad, breakdown, breakdown, BREAKDOWN, clean vocalist to keep the girls interested and did I mention breakdown? In a genre that is already over populated by bands that all have similar sounds Vanna will slot right in.
If there is an instruction manual on how to create a great sounding metalcore album then Vanna have definitely followed it. And They Came Baring Bones is a solid release from start to finish, however it isn’t a release that will help them stand out in the increasingly large crowd that is the metalcore scene. Familiarity aside, it is a great album full of heavy songs, made up of perfectly layered vocals and instruments. It will squeeze every ounce of anger out of you and ensure you can’t stand still. One thing is certain; despite everything Vanna have been through, And They Came Baring Bones is their best release to date.
1. Black Bones
2. I, The Remover
3. History on Repeat
4. Breathing at the Bottom
5. Scarlet Shroud
7. Silver Sun
8. I, The Collector
9. Careless Men Lead Careless Lives
10. Eyes Like the Tides
11. White Light