Last year, I discovered the sophomore album by the horror-drenched speed metal band Vanik titled II: Dark Season. Only recently did the Cleveland Ohio group’s debut make its way to my eardrums, the self-titled Vanik. Considering how good the second release was, the idea of the first one topping it was doubtful. The two come very close and are quite similar structurally, but the debut might be better just by a micron.
Ultimately, the only difference between the records is that this one has a pinch more grit and displays a greater threat in delivery. A slight progression towards more digestible tunes that lay on heavy melody do still show up here and there. “Midnight Ghoul” immediately became a favorite thanks to the vast amount of chops while still holding a haunting aura. Moreover, the instrumental “Dr. Speed” is a quick fret-happy banger that relies on thunderous bass-lines to carry it.
The harsher blows aren’t to be overlooked, however. “Fire Again” blends a memorable chorus with meaner verses and has a strong solo to give it tons of life. Talking punchiness, the opener “Deadly Pleasures” is straight to the point, bordering thrash metal and features banshee-like screams. What a way to open the disc! Heavy blows are also crammed into “The Blackest Eyes” with a side of fast and weeping licks to ride along.
It’s always refreshing to come across records like Vanik. Too many bands set out to revive the past without adding their own spin, causing a significant drop in quality. There are plenty of Halloween loving metal groups, but Vanik has an identity entirely of their own. As the spooky season approaches us even more, we all get hungrier for some creepy crawlers. I suggest adding this one, along with its follow up II: Dark Season to your pile.
Vanik came out on Halloween of 2016. You can listen in its entirety right here!