Vannon is the epitome of what I would call ‘Desert Metal’. There’s so many vast landscapes that this band brings to the table that I can’t think of such a broad range of sounds in a record other than this one.
Vannon does this while still sticking to their sound and being cohesive. The Oakland, CA band says the following: “We began like the virus. Our first steps from one body to another in the cold winding of autumn, moving between sleepers. Our old band was suddenly dead, taken by fate to wherever young bands rot, and we were hungry for something new. We whipped out some new songs, repurposed some old ones, took a few pictures on a gray day and reentered our lair to demo what we had. Then the world stopped. The landslide of biological inevitability took our hopes, our bald-faced crying at the sky, our tiny trajectories and pulled out their mutual rugs of relevance. As horsemen of the apocalypse rode in, we made a record, knowing it might be a final document of our time on earth. And so we hammered and honed, climbed and fell, twisted in imagined winds and invoked a presence that lashed us to a beast of wrath. So it emerged, our weird symphony of end-time living, mixed sharp and hallucinogenic, undulating and folding in on itself while exploding outward. Now it’s yours. “
Let’s dive into this album.
The first song off of this record is ‘Call Up A Storm’ which is an awesome intro track. The song comes in slow and haunting, but eventually picks it up and we get to a point where it’s almost as if we are a part of the music. It’s hard to explain, but you just feel so present in the moment of all of these sounds going on and you feel totally in this landscape that has been created by these musicians. As this track fades, we are brought into the first official song which is ‘Two Snakes’.
This second track reminds me of two things: The first thing that comes to mind is playing zombies on Call Of Duty. This is just such a great gaming track. All of the elements for me are there to complete tasks, wreck some zombies, and run for my life. Admittedly, I’ve never been great at zombies on Call Of Duty, but this song would make me feel cooler while trying. This track also reminds me of one of those songs on Guitar Hero that all of your friends talk about like some kind of legend.
Remember ‘Through The Fire And Flames’ and ‘BYOB’ being held to such a huge standard? If you played either of those song on expert, you were the talk of the town. This song is great and holds so many nostalgic elements for me.
The third song ‘The First And Last’ reminds me also of a video game boss that is extremely hard to beat. The theme I’m seeing so far in this album is how cinematic this band is and how vivid all of the songs are. It’s really great to see this. This track does start out slower as kind of a callback to the intro. The key changes here really pull you in. The vocal tons remind me of some of the more hidden Grunge bands of the 90s.
The forth track ‘Above The Stars’ continues on with the cinematic themes, but I’m more-so reminded of bands such as Fuel and Silverchair with this track when it comes to the intro. However, we get nasty pretty quickly as I hear a lot of tones that are akin to those used by Disturbed. I could easily see this band touring with Disturbed, by the way. This track weaves in and out of acoustic to brutal guitar tones. I love the change ups here.
A little more than halfway into the record we are at track five which is called ‘Desert Of Our Dreams’. The intro is similar to the last track’s in the sense that it has a waterfall and that’s what I really love about this album and band so far. The amount of cohesion is just simply impeccable. Some bands do well with different songs all over the place, but this band just can’t be messed with when we are talking about taking a theme and running with it to create this huge mural of words and sounds. There’s no lyrics in this track, but it works perfectly to continue onward.
The next track is a huge change ‘Took Off Running’, but also makes sense to me. So, in the last track we had ‘Desert Of Our Dreams’ and this reminds me of a bunch of friends sitting in the desert around a campfire trying to survive the day. There’s a lot of Soundgarden vibes here – of course, heavier, but I can hear it vocally.
We pick up the pace again at track seven right before we close out this amazing record. ‘A Cold July’ is the name of this piece and I have to say, so far it’s my favorite. I love all of the stuff going on here. Such a broad range of tones and vocals happening here. Me, as an artist, I appreciate all of these things in this track and I feel that everyone else can too. Even though it changes up frequently, it all just makes so much sense it’s incredible. This song is crooning to the skies and feeling helpless.
Lastly, we have ‘I Come To Destroy’ a shaman like anthem that reminds me of Tool mixed with some Native American vibes. I really love it so far within the first few seconds. The harmonies are full and lush. The guitar is gently playing a very midde-eastern sounding riff as we are about to take off. The beat starts to pick up and then fades. A cymbal starts to ring like a bell. The vocals enter smoothly and slowly. This track is this whole record put into one song. The song is twelve minutes of pure entertainment. We go through soft parts, heavy parts, harmonies, and everything in between. To me, this song defines ‘Vannon’ like no other song can. This is their song and they are here to stay.
Loved this album.