Album review: VANNA – All Hell

VANNA - All Hell

Pure Noise Records [Release date: 08.07.16]

Vanna are becoming one of the fastest growing bands in metalcore. With every new release the band amass even more followers and every new release the band step up their game musically, most notably being their latest, 2014′s ‘Void’.

The band, from Boston, Massachusetts have been together since 2004 and rose to prominence through dominating their local scene before moving up to shows supporting bands such as Escape The Fate and Beartooth.

This album is, like the others, a natural progression musically and exhibits all the qualities ‘Void’ lacked whilst retaining the strengths. The album opens up with ‘Paranoia Euphoria’ carrying on the aggressive tone which frequents most Vanna albums. This song blends the mix of clean and heavy vocals well, something many bands in the hardcore scene tend to struggle with. With many other bands it is a huge contrast of whiney high pitched cleans and extremely heavy and low screams. Vanna however settle themselves in a more punk-like term of heavy vocals and a complimenting gruffer clean, which can still be defined as singing as opposed to screaming to go with it.

‘Pretty Grim’ follows on with much of the same tone in a way in which it could easily be mistaken as a follow on from ‘Paranoia Euphoria’. Due to how similar it is to the previous song it can be a little hard to get in to when you’re looking for just that little variety, that’s when a main point to be discussed for this song hits you. The strong lyric work for this song stands out, containing “I’ve walked with the devil, I’ve spoke with God, They don’t even know who you are..” It’s clear that this song is out there to create a discussion and this is why I would go out of my way to recommend in large part due to it’s anthem like chorus

Towards the middle of the album ‘Flower’ has a more interesting start which is likely to pull listeners in on the first few seconds but the song that really hits it home in terms of pulling you in from its intro is ‘Leather Feather’ which breaks out from its intro into a riff more bouncy than we’ve ever saw from Vanna before. Coupled with the chorus which will have you singing it for days this song is easily one of the strongest, not only on the album but from everything Vanna have written.

The album closes with ‘Lead Balloon’ which live I can see doing the opposite of the title. The song however seems to reference an internal struggle with life. The lyrical content on the fourth or fifth listen seems to unfold and tell a story. This is another side of Vanna which casual listeners and dedicated fans will both be excited to hear. I thought ‘Leather Feather’ was Vanna at their best but only five songs on they convinced me to change my mind.

This album as a whole isn’t too heavy on content, it’s no double album but in the same way it isn’t too light. It contains enough content to sit through and listen to in one go. It also allows Vanna to tailor their live shows further. From this album they could shape a show to be an energy filled mosh fest with songs like ‘Mutter’ but at the same time could play a more intimate set filled with songs such as ‘Lead Balloon’ and create a more somber yet powerful performance.

The band in the past have drawn in criticism for having little variety between their songs, which at the start of the album I felt might have been the downfall of ‘All Hell’ but as soon as ‘Leather Feather’, ‘Circle The Flame’ and ‘Lead Balloon’ began to register with me it was clear that Vanna had taken yet another step forward musically, this time the on that most fans have been calling for. For that reason, it’s what creates an absolutely brilliant album, reflecting on previous releases and building on it.  *****

Review by Dillon Grant

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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 14 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at for that week.

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