Vanishing Point - Dead Elysium
AFM Records
Progressive Melodic Metal
10 songs (59:35)
Release year: 2020
Vanishing Point, AFM Records
Reviewed by Ben

One of the perks of writing for Metal Reviews is that I usually get to review albums from my favorite bands. However, until now, I have yet to write about a band that I deeply admire and respect, Australia's Vanishing Point. They first came to my attention when they toured Europe with Sonata Arctica on the Silence tour. Then, Vanishing Point were one of the few bands on the dreaded LMP music label that showed real, true promise. After that though, the "curse" that would follow the band reared its head. Despite their newfound acclaim and recognition, label issues would cause the band to not have an album released for five years! This would begin a trend of five year plus lengths between albums.

Despite extremely long waits between long players, when Vanishing Point releases an album, it usually is a monster. After five years, we got the eighty minute slab of perfection that is Embrace The Silence. Literally everything about this album is otherworldly. Their next full length, The Fourth Season, came out just two years later and this is their only forgettable output. I don't remember a single thing from this album other than the chorus to Beyond The Open Door. HOWEVER! It would be a SEVEN year wait between Fourth Season and the massive modern blaster of Distant Is The Sun, and now here we are after a SIX year wait with Dead Eylsium. Whew.

Right away you notice that the modern production ethos that the band adopted for Distant Is The Sun is back. This means hard hitting drums and especially beefier guitars. Speaking of the guitars, they are heavier and crunchier than ever. This doesn't mean the band has entered "The Thrash Zone" but they are chug a lugging at a more rapid pace instead of doing mainly ringing chords. Vocalist Silvio has a barely perceptible rough edge to his voice now. He still retains his smoothness, yet there are moments where there is a slight bit of Tom Englund style that comes through. He did have vocal cord issues recently, but he doesn't sound strained or haggard. Plus, he's been singing for over twenty years now and he's still got pretty much all his range.

There is a change in the band's overall sound though that I am a bit butt hurt about. Vanishing Point have really scaled back their piano work. Now, I do have the actual cd but the booklet doesn't have the credits for any of the instruments. Just songwriters. I'm willing to bet they weren't able to get piano master Leonard Kopilas for Dead Elysium. His work on Embrace The Silence and Distant Is The Sun was a key ingredient to their elevation in my mind. That isn't to say there is zero piano, the title track has that, but it is nowhere near as prevalent as it used to be. Also, there is no huge rousing power anthem like Season Of Sundays or Let The River Run. There aren't any straight up ballads either.

I haven't had a chance to fully digest all the lyrics yet, but there seems to be a slight shift in lyrical content. While most of their albums are full of introspection, personal anguish, and painful reinvention, Dead Elysium appears to be more of an observation on how things are currently in the world. As someone who is close to their age, I can say things are pretty fucked compared to where they were twenty years ago. Optimism is hard to come by these days as opposed to back then.

Dead Elysium is Vanishing Point's heaviest and most "metal" album. They have managed to make something that sounds angry yet hopeful and soulful. There are no songs like I Will Awake or Live To Live. From The Fourth Season to Distant Is The Sun came a shift in the band's worldly views. This has caused them to evolve into something truly unique yet still retaining the core elements of what makes them great. I don't enjoy this band because of how happy they are, I enjoy this band because of their talents and what they choose to do with them.

Killing Songs :
The Healing, Dead Elysium, Salvus, To The Wolves, The Ocean
Ben quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Vanishing Point that we have reviewed:
Vanishing Point - Distant is The Sun reviewed by Joel and quoted 93 / 100
Vanishing Point - The Fourth Season reviewed by Marty and quoted 92 / 100
Vanishing Point - Embrace The Silence reviewed by Ian and quoted 82 / 100
Vanishing Point - Tangled In Dream reviewed by Chris and quoted 86 / 100
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