Vangough – Manikin Parade (CD)

“Estranger” is a track that could easily be played on any hair metal station, but Vangough really makes the track germane for today’s listeners through a perfect balance of theatric metal with a power and fury that cannot be denied. One has to also look at the length of the compositions that are on “Manikin Parade”; many of the tracks are in the five to nine minute realm, showcasing one thing: Vangough knows how to create an engrossing and impressive track that with have listeners clamoring for more despite the song’s lengthy run time.

The titular track to “Manikin Parade” has a chunkier ,more sludgy type of sound crafted by Vangough. In this sense, the act takes on Helmet just as much as they approach Candlemass; what results is a testament to the technical virtuosity of the band. “Christmas Scars” ties a more tribal, Sepultura sound with hints of Anthrax and even Mortiis (in regards to the atmosphere that is whipped up for the track). The vocals here on “Christmas Scars” have a tremendous task to complete in sticking with the rest of the band, but I feel that they accomplish just that; the track itself is then catapulted up to the highest quality. “Handful of Dreams” has a slower, more Blind Guardian feel to it, but that really only fits a bit of this eclectic track.

I feel that, aside from taking on progressive metal with this track, that Vangough actually looks at the pacing and arrangements present in Broadway-caliber musicians and marries them to their (much) heavier sound. Later tracks, such as “Etude of Sorrow”, showcase that Vangough does not lose steam in the later reaches of the album. By meshing Queensryche influences with the band’s love of Tool, Vangough are really able to keep “Manikin Parade” going as an instruction manual for how to continually innovate as a band. While the band creates a unique sound through each of the “Manikin Parade” tracks, I feel that fans of more popular genres (such as radio-friendly hard rock) can get into what Vangough is doing here and have their eyes opened for what truly is at the cutting edge of contemporary music.

Top Tracks: Paradise for the Lost, Dance of the Summer Mind

Rating: 8.5/10

Vangough – Manikin Parade / 2009 Self / 14 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/officialvangough

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