Vanora – Momentum (Review)

VanoraVanora are a Norwegian modern metal band and this is their debut album.

With Momentum it’s tempting to think that you’ve heard it all before, but actually this is a slightly different take on modern heavy music in some ways. Ostensibly no different to a thousand other acts upon first encounter, it soon becomes apparent that although there are a lot of familiar elements in place, they’re all put together in such a way that the songs presented here are way more enjoyable and interesting than you might think.

I think that the key to why they are a bit different to a lot of similar bands is actually the metalcore side of their style, as counter-intuitive as that might sound considering how maligned metalcore usually is. Vanora mix heavy metalcore with a more modern djent and atmospheric metal approach, and the result is accessible enough to have a familiar, wider appeal, yet gritty and heavy enough to avoid sounding overly commercial or polished.

I must say that I am quite impressed with this release. This is a modern metal album that takes the best parts from the aforementioned styles and sub-genres and fashions them into confident music that delivers plenty of bang for your buck.

The singer has a quality clean singing voice, showing good range and delivery. I find a lot of the more modern metal bands that use clean singing can easily get a bit whiny sounding, but thankfully this isn’t the case here. As for his harsh vocals, well, these are very nice indeed. They’re a lot deeper and more aggressive than those of a lot of similar types of bands, so this came as a welcome surprise upon first hearing them. The harsh vocals also form the bulk of the singer’s performance, which means that the clean singing is not overused and is generally more effective for it.

The songs are well-written and strike a nice balance between open, accessible, modern parts, and heavier, more aggressive sections, with the latter being given the most weight. These two aspects are frequently mixed, of course, but these are the main two modes of attack for the most part; heaviness with shouted vocals, and a more emotive delivery replete with warm singing. As I say though, the two aren’t mutually exclusive, and I really like that the heavier side of the band is given more prominence and weight in the songs than their more accessible side.

Synthesizers swamp most of the material, adding extra depth and nuance to the band’s songs without being overwrought. They enhance the core heaviness of the guitars, or a soaring sung chorus, or provide a focal point in their own right.

A professional production and delivery rounds everything off, and overall I have very much enjoyed this release. This is modern and emotive heavy music, with a firm emphasis on the heavier side of things, without compromising on atmospheric qualities.

Very highly recommended. Make sure you check out Vanora.

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