June 21, 2011 - Artery/Razor & Tie
2011 finds post-hardcore quintet Vanna on the far side of changes that could have scuttled a lesser band. They left their former home at Epitaph Records right around the same time that their original lead singer, Chris Preece, decided to leave the band. Rather than confuse things, this transformation seems to have focused Vanna's attack, if their latest full-length, And They Came Baring Bones, is any indication. Although the recording process was rushed, thanks to the sure hand of producer Matt Goldman, Bones doesn't come off like some tossed-off collection of half-formed ideas. Rather, the band feel assured and more vicious than ever, embracing a darker tone that complements their angst-ridden lyrics.
Vanna have found a perfect foil in the guise of new lead growler Davey Muise. The former Seeker Destroyer member plumbs even deeper notes than his predecessor, urging his bandmates to push into more metallic and savage territory. Gone are the lighter touches that bordered on pop-punk; in their place are fist-pumpers that slide neatly between pounding aggro-punk and midtempo headbanging material. Push any more and Vanna could turn into a straight-up metal band, which might not be a bad move—it would force them to jettison the slow, heart-on-sleeve numbers that too many young bands feel are necessary to slip into the mix. Plus, Evan Pharmakis would have more time to rip out knifelike lead guitar lines instead of using his dulcet voice to keep the band's female fans intrigued. But if they stay the well-conceived course that they set with Bones, Vanna could be well on their way to the pinnacle of hardcore success.