OK. I just finished my fourth listen to VANISHING POINT’S first album in seven years, Distant Is the Sun and I gotta tell ya, I’m just not that into it. I know that they’ve been around a long time and they’re established and all, but man. This stuff just isn’t doing it for me. Nothing against them as musicians, they play very well. And I’m sure they’re all very nice guys, but some of this stuff is really boring. There are 13 actual songs, and I only liked half of them. So we’ll start there, shall we?
The title track “Distant Is the Sun” has a very good groove and overall feel to it, and “When Truth Lies” has all those classic power metal nuances I like so much. Good riffs, driving beats, and a feeling that we’re actually going somewhere with this. Tony Kakko from SONATA ARCTICA guests on “Circle of Fire” and it’s another very good song. It’s got some balls to it. Now with “Denied Deliverance” there’s a definite merger of power metal and AOR that also works very well. The band kind of rides on the backs of the guitars and drums and cruises along at a very good pace, and this also has one of the solos that jumped out at me.
My favorite track though is one that seems totally out of place with the rest of the record. “Let the River Run” opens with an a cappella harmony that is just fantastic, and the whole song is more of a classic 80’s rock anthem than anything else. The hook is downright infectious, and would be one song I’d put on a driving mix any day of the week. “Era Zero” is another winner that turns up the heavy a bit and also had my attention, as did “As December Fades” If there were more like these two, this record would be a lot better.
Now with all that said, let’s have a look at what I was NOT a fan of. The opener “King of Empty Promises”, though heavy, drags on the choruses and is kind of monotonous. “Story of Misery” totally ups the cheese factor and is damn near unlistenable. “Handful of Hope” is not much better as it is hopelessly adrift in a sea of clichés, and both “Pillars of Sand” and “Walls of Silence” just kind of lumber along headed nowhere. And I have no idea what the acoustic instrumental “April” is doing as a closer or really on the album at all, as it just doesn’t fit.
I’m sure the die-hards will probably wet themselves over VANISHING POINT’S return, and that’s fine. Me, not so much. 13 songs, of which I really liked seven is not enough to warrant repeat spins of Distant Is the Sun, sorry. And I’m not gonna crucify this one because quite frankly, I just don’t care enough.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Let the River Run”, “As December Fades”, “Era Zero”, “Denied Deliverance”