Tale Of Two Halves

New England five piece Vanna are here to make an impact, one that you can not avoid as they blast you with the opening bars of their debut album Curses and one that you'll want to take heed of. Part of the post hardcore scene, Vanna offer ferocious guitar work alongside anger drenched vocals that threaten to take over everything. And indeed that may well be the case but Vanna go on to reveal a certain charm, one that differentiates them from other such acts as they embrace the smooth with the rough, unveiling a melodic edge that effortlessly distinguishes them from their competitors.

Thrashing their way out of the starting blocks, Vanna immediately attack with anger fuelled vocals that roar and growl in all the right places as a frantic assault of frenzied guitars charges their way through. Whilst this is great, slapping the listener forcefully with a fist full of metal, it is only when Vanna turn their hand to a softer approach that things start to take a new promising twist. 'The Things He Carried' blends the fierce with the tranquil, the hard-hitting with the melodic, allowing Vanna to really come into their own, showing that this is a band with a certain sparkle to catch the eye. Unfortunately it is a fleeting appearance for this side of Vanna as the aggression of the band pushes its way to the surface once more, relinquishing its hold only on 'Home' wherein the New England group give the listener a short respite and a breather as instrumental takes over, signalling the end of part one and preparing us all for the oncoming onslaught of brutal breakdowns and vocal chord aching shrills that make your own throat ache in sympathy whilst harbouring a certain degree of envy.

'We Ate The Horse You Rode In On' surprisingly catches Vanna in their more melodic stance, something you'd not necessarily expect with such a title. With just enough vehemence and anger bubbling throughout, 'We Ate The Horse You Rode In On' offers ferocious guitars that playfully interlock with the soothing melody of Vanna's less brutal vocals. 'This Map Is Old News' takes Vanna's grasp of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde one step further as they unmask a raw aggression throughout their vocals, pounding against their more gentle side that combine to contrast brilliantly with the songs' passion filled lyrics that are both thought provoking and emotionally moving.

Curses ultimately is an album of two halves. When the band turn down their aggression slightly and replace it with the melodic grace they do so well they are able to capture a perfect contrast of brutal passion that sits wonderfully side by side and it is when they find this balance between vicious emotion and heartfelt melody that makes it clear that Vanna are a band on the cusp of something great.