Written by: Blackie Skulless
The third full-length offering by Vanik somewhat came out of nowhere, but seeing how much I liked Vanik II: Dark Season, this became a priority. Simply titled III (or Vanik III), it delivers more of what they’re great at. Since the beginning, Shaun Paul Vanek and Co. have delivered hefty blasts of heavy/speed metal residing on the rustier side. Picture something like Venom but not quite as abrasive--or in other words, lose the blackened atmosphere.
A notable difference that could be spotted right away is the cleanliness of the riffs and even the vocals a bit here. Though still raspy, the layering is better placed to allow every part to stand out in its own merit, even if it loses a little bit of the bass prominence from before. That also forces room for a tiny drop of melody boost and passages that feel a bit more comprehensive. No worries though, because you still don’t lose that spooky undertow that coats everything this band does.
In fact, it might actually enhance that feature. “The Creature” is the perfect example, holding onto the steady and catchy licks, while breaking out some tighter vocal work. The following number “We Approach” ties this with doom metal crawls to feel even more fitting, and the lead guitar wails on this one add so much tension (in a good way). The overall layout of III is also pretty ideal, as the different approaches of rock ‘n roll, gritty speed, and harsh stomps are dispersed nicely. “Night Danger” couldn’t have been a better track to follow the slowest one, and its complexion itself is so much fun.
Ultimately, I probably like II: Dark Season a bit better personally because of its blatant raw attack, but this one is definitely a better record objectively. Anybody who is new to the band, this is where I would suggest starting just for the sake of it being an easier swallow. It should go without saying, but this fits in nicely with the other Vanik albums as a Halloween season go-to.
Vanik - III was released Oct. 2nd, 2020 via Mercinary Records
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!