Vanity – ‘Perspective//Empathy’ (Self-Released) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Mark Ashby   
Tuesday, 03 October 2017 04:00

Vanity artworkAnyone who knows me, and has read some of my reviews on here, will know that I generally have little, if any, time for the genre that has become known as “metalcore” over the past few years. As with any deviation from the mainstream, it initially was an interesting and innovative diversion, with bands like Killswitch Engage bringing a new and exciting twist to the main metal mien, turning what had become a largely staid and, dare I say, conservative genre on its head and bringing it back to a whole new generation of fans – and deservedly so.


However, as with much of what had gone before it, it very quickly went equally stale, and – in my humble opinion - it became a case of the bands merely imitating each other: “well, if it worked for them it will work for us”; you know the score. It’s been the formula since day one: imitate what is popular, ‘cos the kids are buying it so they’ll buy us. And, buy (sic) and large it works: ‘cos the kids are gullible and buy whatever the marketing machine throws in their direction, like a puppy licking vomit from the pavement.


Now, having said of all that, now and again something, even in the staidest of genres, comes along, grabs you by the balls and gives you a damn good thrashing… This, the third EP from the now name shortened Vanity (they previously were known as Vanity Draws Blood) didn’t quite do that – but it did make me sit up and pay attention when I slipped the tiny silver disc into my deathdeck and pressed the big red button.


This is the second in a series of thematically linked EPs, based on human emotions. The first dealt with the subject of dread and featured Thy Art Is Murder’s CJ McMahon on guest vocals on the single ‘Anxiety’. All of which suggests that these guys are prepared to take the “emotional” aspect of the emo genre to the next, logical level. And indeed, by and large, they do with this short sharp shock to the system.


The brief intro of ‘Empathy’ itself evokes the feeling of the ’28 Days…’ soundtracks, before ‘Tranquil’ proves to be a lot less than that, it’s deceptively gentle piano quickly over-ridden by a crushing guitar harmony and a guttural vocal, which in turn is augmented by a beautiful female background fill, which serves as an appetizer for later and also as a pointer as to how the rich diversity of this EP helps its creators stand out from the crushing crowd of emocore imitators.



‘Sorrow’ is a fairly standard metalcore song, standing apart only from the pure ferocity of the lead vocal counterpointed by the operatic keyboards which swell gently in the background, but is a mere prelude for the piece de resistance – the epic ‘Extrovert’. This song is just huge, with guest vocalist Lilly Macieira stepping into the forelight to deliver a haunting solo before the main riff and male vocal which rips through what has gone just before with an unbridled fury that few bands in this subgenre manage to encapsulate.


Closer ‘Affinity’ sees Vanity veer extremely close to Linkin Park territory in its atmospheric opening, showing once again how they are not afraid to integrate different styles into their music while still remaining true to the basics of the subgenre from which they take their primary influence.


As I said at the top, I’ve fallen out of love with metalcore: this EP might help me shake hands with it again, albeit briefly and on a totally platonic basis.


‘Perspective//Empathy’ is out now.


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