Vanishing Point – Distant Is The Sun
Reviewed by Arno Callens
Vanishing Point was almost at the point of vanishing (oh yeah!) until just recently. Like the seventies cult film of the same name, they seemed doomed to fade into obscurity. Maybe they thought that after The Fourth Season there was no meteorological place left to go, or at least not one where Dreamscape with its 5th Season already went. Whatever prompted the Australians’ return however, it is a most welcome one. Distant Is The Sun is worth the seven-year gap and, weather gods be damned, there is life beyond The Fourth Season.
A quick and sloppy Google search tells us the sun is approximately 150 million kilometers distant from the Earth (in miles that’s about 5.3, 300 billion or… just get with the metric system already). This little fact says absolutely nothing about the album, but don’t you feel like you’ve just learned something? I think it says something about the light and/or warmth on this cosy little stone of ours, because Distant Is The Sun is not exactly your run-off-the-mill happy-go-lucky melodic prog record.
Now these Australians, undoubtedly as a side effect of living in Australia, have always been a bit on the down (under) side, but instead of drowning us all in their collective depression, present their bleak ideas through thoughtful and sometimes ironically uplifting music. “King Of Empty Promises” isn’t exactly the kind of title you’d engrave on a plaque to put over your door, but it’s hard to tie that noose if the opening keyboard-soaked melody is such a symphonic delight. Silvio Massaro’s vocals take some getting used to, but for a fourth-seasoned veteran like me, he immediately hits that sweet spot between melancholy and strength.
Perhaps that’s the algorithm (it took me three tries to write this word and then this sentence) behind Vanishing Point’s music. “When Truth Lies”, “Let The River Run”, or “Denied Deliverance” (the best song Evergrey never penned) aren’t exactly the soundtracks of Disney movies, but they fill you with such a surge of power that the lyrical content seems easier to bear. I haven’t felt knife-to-my-wrists horrible in quite some time, but I’m sure I’ll reach for this album to provide that extra boost in the next darkest of times.
Of course it’s not all sadness and stuff. “Circle Of Fire” could be mistaken for a power metal song, what with Tony Kakko from Sonata Arctica stopping by and urging us to “walk with the fire!”. I’ve seen Twin Peaks, Tony, and the fire walks with me. “Era Zero” then follows with such a rousing intro that the song will be over before you’ve recovered, and “Walls Of Silence” has the last in a series of hooks that would make the Fisherman’s Foundation jealous. Counterbalancing this melodic violence are quieter tracks like the token ballad “Story Of Misery”, the sober “Pillars Of Sand”, and bound-to-be grower “Handful Of Hope”. As on The Fourth Season, the album also ends with an introspective piece, with “April” being the natural moody successor to “A Day Of Difference”.
In fact, “introspective” is probably a better description for Vanishing Point and melodic prog in general. Musical catharsis: making you reflect on important matters while you’re stretching your vocal chords and banging that head. It’s a sort of mental fitness, if you will. Distant Is The Sun is a great workout audio in this regard, and one that will at least last as many seasons as the Fourth. Appearing Point has far from Vanished, and hopefully the next record isn’t 150 million kilometers away.
4.0 // 5