Album Review :
Vanguard - Bring Hope EP

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Band: Vanguard

Title: Bring Hope EP

Label: Unsigned

Release Date: 2009

Review By: Steve

Track Listing:

  1. No Compromise
  2. God Of This City
  3. The Harlot’s Song
  4. Bring Hope
  5. Home Is Where The Heart Is

Have you ever started listening to an album and thought, “Wow this is some good death metal” and then a few minutes later you think, “This is some good hardcore.  Wait a minute is the same album and band???”  Well if you haven’t, then you definitely will when you listen to Vanguard’s latest EP entitled Bring Hope.  One phrase keeps popping into my head when I listen to Bring Hope, “TOTALLY BRUTAL!!!”

If you told me that a band would go back and forth between death metal and hardcore in the same song let alone the same album, I am 99.9% sure I would tell you I am not interested in listening to it.  However, Vanguard pulls this off masterfully!  I would not necessarily label Vanguard as deathcore because Vanguard is much more than that and they are all over the genre map.  Needless to say, these guys definitely have their own sound, which is extremely rare now days.

Vanguard is a five-piece death metal/hardcore band out of San Diego, California.  They released a full-length concept album in 2008 called Erek and Ivor that was outstanding.  In my opinion Erek and Ivor was almost all death metal while Bring Hope expands more into the hardcore realm.  These guys really stood out to me musically.  Every instrument sounds great on this EP.  There are some amazing guitar solos on this EP too, especially on the last track “Home Is Where The Heart Is.”  I was also impressed with the riffs and breakdowns on this EP.  They really make you want to leave the sidelines and jump in the pit.  The production is a little rough but not too bad, which is expected on a DIY album.

Vocally, Joel Quartuccio really shines.  He alternates between death metal, hardcore, and clean vocals amazingly well.  In all that moving around vocally between different genres, there are no awkward or forced moments.  They all flow together nicely.  Joel has an incredible vocal range because he can nail the higher pitched death metal screams and then drop down and belt out some deep nasty, throaty growls.  Because most of the EP is death metal, it is hard to understand many of the lyrics; however, in a few songs Vanguard offers some prayers for the youth to rise up and cause revival in our country as well as prayers for wisdom and discernment.  The best song on the EP is by far “Bring Hope.”  This song has everything I am looking for in song: punishing vocals, brutal breakdowns, and hard hitting riffs.  In addition, “Bring Hope” is Vanguard’s best display of death metal/hardcore mix.

Overall: I can only say that this is a must buy.  This EP will definitely have you dusting off your dancing shoes. You will be anything but bored when you listen to this EP.  I cannot tell you enough how impressed I am with Vanguard.  Great instruments, vocals, and message—what else do you need in a hardcore/metal band.  Do yourself a favor and go check out this band from San Diego.