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Rating:
8.7
Vangough - Manikin Parade
2 April 2009


01. Estranger
02. Manikin Parade
03. Christmas Scars
04. Handful Of Dreams
05. Disorder Quotient
06. Bricolage Theater
07. Paradise For The Lost (The Twilight Part I: Deception)
08. Gabrielle (The Twilight Part II: Love)
09. Dance Of The Summer Mind
10. One Dark Birthday
11. Etude Of Sorrow (The Twilight Part III: Oblivion)
12. Halcyon Days
13. The Cosmic Bus Stop


Progressive Metal
Label: Self-Released
USA: 2009
Length: 74:18

Line-Up on the CD:
Vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards: Clay Withrow
Drums: Brandon Lopez


The life of a reviewer is funny sometime. Nobody yet (but it should change soon you'll see) talks about Vangough but I discovered the band when its leader Clay Withrow saw my profile in the friend list of Pain Of Salvation… Clay asked me to review his fist album and voila, this is one of the reasons why Internet is so powerful and magical… But why am I saying that? Well because there is obviously an important fact in my previous words, a link between me, Vangough and a lot of you and this is Pain Of Salvation. Vangough is the spiritual son of the Swedish band, this is not a copycat but clearly plays the same kind of original emotive Prog and I have a lot of good hopes for this combo. Am I wrong or right? Let's do a bet if you want and we will talk about it in 2 - 3 years

The music on "Maninkin Parade" is clearly Prog but really deep and innovative too. A bit like POS (which is the main influence of this new combo anyway), the music of the first album of Vangough is really original. This is not blasting music but something really melodic, with ballads and piano, but also big good riffs, technical guitars soli and long songs which have a lot of different parts and passages. But what I like the most in this release and in the music is the really good vibes that it gives to the listeners. Like with Anathema or POS for example, there is something else behind the music and I'm quite sure that the one who like to listen to Metal not only to headbang will quickly understand what I mean, this is just deep and beautiful and absolutely not simple.
The only problem for me in "Maninkin Parade" is maybe that Clay Withrow tries a bit too much to sound like Daniel of POS. Clay has a unique beautiful voice but sometime his intonations, his way to sing his lyrics are a bit too similar to the ones of Gildenlöw. Don't worry this is not a clone too but Clay should try to be a bit more natural and it should be perfect (because his voice is good anyway, that's obvious). Other than that this release is really deep and will give you a lot of emotions and different feelings. The concept is well written and the music perfectly fits to the main theme. Vangough tells a real musical story with this album, this is pretty nice.

"Maninkin Parade" is a self-released album, this is not signed on any label and so what? I'm wondering if labels managers are deaf sometime or if they need a big kick in the ass to wake up, because there is nothing else to do than to organize some promotion and add a logo on the back cover of release. The sound is really good, the voice of Clay Withrow is perfect, the interpretations of the songs are professional and really well done, what do they need really? "Maninkin Parade" features thirteen really good tracks, a good general story and a really good and sensitive way to play Progressive Metal. This is clearly the kind of band that I would like to sign on my own label; the risk is equal to zero...

Vangough will maybe have to find a way to do a break with its main influence, Pain Of Salvation. But actually, it's ok because "Maninkin Parade" has its own personality too and anyway this is just a first album, a fact which leads me to the conclusion that the next release should be a lot more personal. Anyway, it's rare to find such a promising band and I really think that we're just in front of a future next sensation of the Progressive Metal scene so please don't wait anymore time to buy this album, believe me we're in front of a real masterpiece. Until today, "Manikin Parade" is the Prog revelation of the year 2009 and believe me this is just a beginning… An absolute must!

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8


 


written by Jeff | 28.05.2009



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Crazy Booduh - 29.05.2009 at 20:06  
Fantastic CD, you can feel the passion behind every track. I'm glad it got a review here on Metal Storm because these guys deserve some attention.

My ONLY complaint is that there is no booklet with lyrics, etc. which is a real shame because it's obvious that it's a concept album (or at least has a common theme throughout) but I can only pick up bits and pieces through listening. Luckily it's fairly easy to understand Clay Winthrow throughout most of the album.

Highly recommended though it might be hard to find, I got mine through lasercd.com but I'm not sure if they ship outside the US.
DreamWeaver - 11.06.2009 at 07:38  
Are you sure this album was released last year? I've seen in many other sites that it was released this year, if so, this is my top choice for the MS awards.

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