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Vanishing Point tangles you in complexity

Many times in our newsroom, conversations will devolve into silly discussions of music, only to re-evolve into serious discussions, stuffed with little known facts and opinions.

From this has come a continuing new feature that will see reporter Jason Schoonover and photographer Eric Johnson challenging each other to listen to something outside their music comfort zone.

This week Jason reviews “Tangled in a Dream,” by Vanishing Point.

Vanishing Point’s second album is tangled, but in a good way.

“Tangled in a Dream” twists a variety of emotions and styles into an album that’s deceptively hard to grasp.

It took a few listens to get a grasp on the sound that shifts around, but is still at its core a progressive metal album.

Vanishing Point's "Tangled in a Dream"

Vanishing Point interlaces progressive metal with tastes of 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. The group relies heavily on keyboards for symphonic overtones. But make no mistake, the band’s able to maintain a biting sound.

Still, the group sends a few curveballs throughout the album: a saxophone that sounds stolen from a 1980s romance film and a hidden track covering Pink Floyd’s “On the Turning Away.”

Much of the album incorporates influence from late 1970s and 1980s metal bands with melodic vocals. The guitars often employ the tight tones of arena rock.

Dig It

“Tangled in a Dream” opens as an album churning and building forward, but rather than exploding in head banging metal, the sound sways from grand choruses to quiet introductions.

The variations in sound, tone and volume make for a diverse sound that can act as a good introductory album to the progressive metal genre.

Didn’t dig it

With arena-toned guitars and a hidden track acting like an encore, the album plays like a studio version of a live performance. However, the album never quite attains the raw power level of a live performance, and there seems to be something missing at times.

Key track

“Tangled in a Dream,” the title track and a bit of black sheep on the album. When chimes open the track, I half-expected a female singer like Amy Grant to start singing. Still, the track works as a pleasant, dreamy closer for the album with the repeated chorus of “Wake Me From these Dreams.”

After an extended silence, the hidden track, “On the Turning Away,” starts. The poppy cover is the perfect encore for the album.

Verdict

50-50. The entire album isn’t going straight onto my iPod, but I’m certainly going to reserve space for some of the tracks.