Album: The Silent Earth
Genre: Progressive Metalcore
Record Label: Independent
Release Date: July 30, 2021
Album length: 38 Minutes, 45 seconds
The Seven 4:14
The Silent Earth 4:45
The Discovery 5:45
VINTAS is a four-piece progressive metalcore band from Knoxville, Tennessee. Formed in 2020, the band defines their sound as “down tuned riffs, massive ambient leads, and emotional lyrics and vocals”. With a self-professed love for narratives and conveyance of truth through musical storytelling, many of the tracks draw thematic inspiration from various works of literature. Specifically, The Silent Earth is built on the concept put forward by C.S Lewis that if the universe contained other planets with life, the earth would remain silent due to the all-encompassing fall from grace and associated wickedness.
Lyrically, the album loosely examines the aforementioned fall from grace and the ultimate resolution. Although there is no explicit Christian message, there is the constant allusion that it is hope in something outside the self that will provide the rescue. The album opens with a singular protagonist alone, paralyzed by darkness; “all along, the lies you allowed/are the reason you can’t hear me now”. There is a swift progression to this protagonist as a metonym for society in general in Evergreen “willing to change but never making progress”. The line “You never knew that you were drifting away” is chillingly telling, and perfectly delivered by vocalist Seth Shanks.
The stand-in continues, with Glaciers stepping through the environmental death of the earth in conjunction with the population. The Seven starts to hint at darker things to come “my hope is lost from my perspective”. Cascade opens up the forum, questioning if our “fate [is] written in stone” and ponders, do we have a voice? Although the earth is silent, there is beauty, but track 7 prompts “Earth must change/or forever be estranged”. Hollow has Seth again growling out a haunting isolated line “I feel the dark/sweeping over me [...]” shortly before Exhale solidifies this weight. There is a connection to the earth that is strung throughout the album thus far, with Exhale making the connection explicit. With The Discovery comes hope. An answer to the fallen world. “Pride is drowned in the infinity of the divine”.
Sonically, even if you aren’t blessed with synesthesia, this album explodes with color from the outset. The opening track brings forth green forests with the gentle increase of the melodic narrative that forms the backbone of the album. It’s not long before Luke Merrel on guitar, Clint Sawyer on bass, and Tyler Pino on drums add to the weight of green with explosions of red and grey supported by Seth’s vocals. The sound is reminiscent of Jimmy era Haste the Day with a sprinkling of The Changing of Times from Underoath, and yet more developed with the use of well-placed breaks to highlight individual elements. Track 2 has an almost seamless transition from the previous, with the bass line twang connecting the underlying melody and pulling together the dual narrative of the progressive element.
VINTAS provides no relief in Track 3, with the weight of the soundscape supporting the lyrics. Track 4 emphasizes the heaviness, with the entire sound pulling in and out like an extended drum beat, a heartbeat, the feeling of loss. Track 5 transitions us back to the world of green and grey, and in an immersive ambient narrative, provides a point of pause. With a defined intake of breath, Track 6 brings forth the darkness, and yet the progressive voice used by Seth in this track balances the weight so it doesn’t overwhelm. As Track 6 fades through ambiance to an industrial push, Track 7 picks this up with Clint and Tyler hitting heavy. A good acoustic setup will help fully realize the subtleties of this track. Track 8 brings us back to the forest, alone, empty, with an ambient background overlaid with metalcore-style spoken word. To some degree, it forms an intermission, before heading back in full force with Track 9. Track 9 feels like the culmination of the dual narrative, with the progressive and metalcore elements fully in sync before we hit the silent transition, with Track 10 taking a step back into the melody, gently leading us through an ambient soundscape with intermittent heavier moments. It's a pause for contemplation before Track 11 builds the finish. Underlying melodics finally releases us to an instrumental finish. And in a way, the track withdraws from a cinematic close-up to an extreme long shot, repositioning us back in that forest where it all began.
Overall, there is some heaviness in the production of the earlier moments of the album, and some of the later tracks where there is a lack of crispness. It’s not clear whether this was an intentional choice, although the clear definition in the bass and drum tracks indicates that it may not be. Yet to bring this forth as a debut album shows a rich talent and well-composed outfit. If you find yourself lamenting for the best moments of early 2000 metalcore with the progressive elements of rock band Spoken (coincidentally, also from Tennessee) this album comes highly recommended.
Support the artist! A link to their central web presence can be found here: campsite.bio/VINTAS (opens new window)
Favourite tracks: I really loved the album as a whole, although Hollow stands out with the use of ambient overlaid with Seth crying out....Evergreen is definitely an extremely close second.