Review Summary: They just claw and feed until I don’t feel a thing
In a genre where raw energy and a proclivity for bouncy riffs are commonplace, it’s inherently risky for a new band to hearken back to the heavily produced atmospheric trends of the early 2010s, even more so when the resulting product is actually fantastic. Vanish have exceeded these expectations; thanks to haunting vocals and varied instrumental breaks, ‘From Sheep to Wolves’ is a downright impressive debut Post-Hardcore effort.
This EP’s eclectic blend of sounds is akin to Pierce the Veil’s third album ‘Collide with the Sky’ on a dark and dreary drinking binge with Sleeping with Siren’s debut album ‘With Ears to See and Eyes to Hear’, with vocalist Patrick Hamilton unequivocally taking the spotlight. His stellar Soprano-Alto base clean range carries this release, and his ability to hit high notes while maintaining a consistently smooth tone are impressive to the point that even Kellin Quinn would blush. That’s not to say he’s a one trick pony, as his lower register and ability to jump across the octave board is just as strong. Even more astounding is that his screams are just as capable, despite not having as wide of a tonal reach as his clean performance. The lyricism focuses on the highs and lows of love, self-denial, and battling with your own mental demons; despite dipping into some occasional clichés, they’re mostly competent, at times poignant, and thanks to the superb vocal quality, the negatives can be easily overlooked.
There’s no signs of slacking in the instrumental department either, as the production favors a layered but open sound to allow each part of the mix to breathe. Bobby Miller and Justin Beacham both deliver excellently on the guitar front, focusing on split atmospherics and distorted arrangements rather than just relying on the bouncy riffing and energetic scales. However, when they dip into their heavier influences such as in “Heaven Sent // Hellbound” their songwriting chops are just as solid, with expertly placed breakdowns and a varied composition. The drumming lends most of its influence from uplifting 2010s pop-punk, and the odd contrast with the more somber tone of the other instrumentals actually gives this release a necessary kick of energy that would have been sorely missed otherwise. The reason this overall instrumental approach works is because of how well the theatrical bells and whistles are amalgamated with the other performances. Instrumental flushes of Chiodos-esque piano arrangements and subtle electronics dominate the spectrum and give each song a unique flavor.
Vanish is a diamond in the rough for a struggling sub-genre style, and is one of those bands that infuses new life into their work via genuine inspiration and solid craftsmanship. ‘From Sheep to Wolves’ is a wonderful sign for things to come from this band, and hopefully their first full length album will even further flesh out the bombastic sound that they captured so well here.