Written by: LF on 17/12/2014 20:44:21

"Void" is the fifth studio album from the hardcore group Vanna and their first on Pure Noise Records. It was released in June, just about a year after their previous record, and while it has its soft moments it's mainly a very aggressive release. This is most obviously the case when we're being hurled through endless breakdowns and fast-paced, screamed verses but Vanna strive to include some very melodic choruses with clean singing in most songs and while these pieces slow down the tempo, they most certainly still help build the aggression up even further before it's then released through the next screamed passage.

Given that most songs follow this formula, it doesn't take many seconds of listening before it's evident that this record goes hard indeed. As the title track enters with throbbing bass and thundering drums, the ferocious screams seem to be way up in your face as the vocalist spits our lyric upon lyric that is just soaking in despair, like "Stare into the great unknown / This hell that I call home" or the massive "My eyes have seen no glory, so I ripped them out today / Cause when was the last time I looked at you without looking away?" of the following intro to "Toxic Pretender". The latter is probably the most memorable line of the entire record due simply to the rabid conviction it's yelled with. This song also gives us the first clean singing of the record to contrast the coarse screams and extremely rhythmic verses with some bigger movements and melodies in the chorus. The contrast works well so far but the problem that follows is that the record doesn't develop much further than this. In general the album has a few memorable fragments but there's just not enough of a dynamic through it to keep me 100% interested or make the songs stand apart properly. Some lyrics are almost too much but nonetheless they stand out enough that I remember them, for instance "No love / No peace / Just sadness" of "Personal Cross" or the yelped lines "We own this town / You and every motherfucker around" of the main breakdown in "Holy Hell".

Apart from these snippets of lyrics that stick to my brain here and there, "Digging" is probably the main song that manages to stand out. It has a bigger focus on melody throughout and while it does feature the kind of heavy breakdowns that are present in pretty much every song, they're coupled with layers of guitars that give it a very different feel than the other more straightforward, brutal compositions. This mixing of what otherwise stays apart on the album really makes room for the song to aspire to communicate bigger feelings of immense sadness without the consuming, more sharply aggressive vibes that otherwise fill the album. More than anything it's just nice to see the band capable of delivering something slightly different than what otherwise dominates the album. "Humaphobia" tries something similar, but the only time we get near something notably new again is on the softest and longest track of them all, "Bienvenue", that builds up a soaring, emotional ending to the album with the screams seeming more frantic and desperate than violent.

So this is a record that does have some interesting bits and pieces on it but overall the album doesn't stand out too much. Instead of each song adding something to the whole in its own way, rather they communicate the same over and over, but if you're really into this kind of hardcore you might still enjoy some of the songs I've mentioned in this review.

Download: Digging, Toxic Pretender
For The Fans Of: Hundredth, Gwen Stacy, Being As An Ocean

Release date 17.06.2014
Pure Noise Records

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