Vanna - Void
Released:June 17, 2014 Pure Noise
Some bands shouldn’t use clean vocals, and Boston’s Vanna are one of them. The opening title track on their fifth album (and Pure Noise debut) is a grinding blast of pure rage, Davey Muise’s genuinely unhinged-sounding vocals perched atop jagged noisecore riffs. It promises a hate-blast of an album aimed straight at fans of bands like Cloak/Dagger or Unsane, with extra metal. But the very next song, “Toxic Pretender,” sacrifices the band’s headlong power in service of a la-la chorus and ringing guitars that sound cut ’n’ pasted from a rejected Amity Affliction demo (another band producer Will Putney worked with this year). That same bait-and-switch happens multiple times on the album, with guitarist/clean vocalist Joel Pastuszak—whose instrumental contributions are terrific, offering raw skronk and epic art-rock power with equal skill—turning one crushing hardcore explosion after another into a metalcore sing-along, as though there’s the slightest chance a band this furious and assaultive is gonna get anywhere near radio.
Vanna have more than just rage on their side, of course; they’ve got a sense of humor, too, as evidenced by track titles like “Humaphobia,” “All American’t” and “Pornocopia,” and the twisted Nine Inch Nails lyric-borrowing on “Yüth Decay” provides a good laugh. But ultimately, they need to play to their strengths and be more Dillinger Escape Plan and less Blessthefall, especially with a frontman as breathtaking as Muise.