Vangough’s style of metal doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves, as is the case with the heavy and progressive involutions illustrated in their new album Warpaint. Metal of the more intricate levels almost seem like a lost cause in today’s metal scene, which is grossly painted with talentless butt-rockers ripping off of each other and going under the guise as “metal-core” groups. This shadow leaves the truly talented of the scene to be left unnoticed by those that are not within the circle; the talented have joined the ranks of the more esoteric sects of metal in a way. Warpaint’s attention to detail should hopefully shine through. It has its flaws, and there are times where it drags on to the point that one is driven to say, “Okay, we get it. Life is metal.” Besides that, this album is sure to be appreciated amongst the metal scene.
There is a banger for an opening track titled “Morphine.” For about five seconds, it sounds like it is going to be a Metallica/Pantera rip-off, but then it quickly gets heavier, hazier, and progressively more intense. This track is the opening credits, as it showcases each of the individual talents that come together for the rest of the album. It breaks into a softer verse of metal, and, unlike many other slower breaks in metal, it is not forced, it is raw. It just smoothly croons along: a well thought out track, lyrically, instrumentally, and on a production level. The album ends with “Black Rabbit” – an eleven and a half minute sonic sculpture of metal. It rolls out with a powerful march to set up for energy that builds through the rest of the track. It is incredibly difficult to imagine a mere three people were able to put out such a long track where every moment is completely unique and complex from its previous moment. It sounds like a large band is in full effect, feeding off of each other’s energy, and producing the best effort they can to get out everything they need to before time runs out; however, it is just the trifecta.
Warpaint is very emotional, and out in the open about it. It s a reminder that metal is in reality a very emotional genre, and not just the stereotypical mullet-donning, forehead can-crushing, misogynistic scene it has been pegged as since the “hair-metal” phase. It is also a reminder that the current metal scene is not just the mainstream “bro-metal” that is constantly being pushed, but an intelligent musical sub-culture. Although Vangough gets carried away a little with some of the more prominent metal clichés, Warpaint is a genuine metal album made by talented individuals.