VANT – DUMB BLOOD

Formed in just 2014, newcomers VANT have already managed to build themselves a sizeable following across their newly blossoming career. These Londoners’ modernistic take on hardcore rock is something that hasn't quite been heard before and, with their new debut album DUMB BLOOD, as will become evidently clear, there is something remarkably special about this band.

Put bluntly, DUMB BLOOD has already become my favourite album of 2017 thus far. The levels of ingenuity and dynamics behind this record are truly spectacular and makes for 13 (or 22 in the deluxe version) tracks of pure musical brilliance. Kicking things off is ‘THE ANSWER’ which, from the offset, immediately greets the audience with an hysterical riff and an energy that will surely get you moving. Vocalist Mattie Vant’s voice holds a very distinctive, husky twang that really captivates your attention, working remarkably well with the overall sound and really projecting a sense of life into each lyric he sings.

DUMB BLOOD brilliantly demonstrates the dichotomies between wild youth culture and general society, the messages behind every track do not beat around the bush, covering everything from gun laws to organised religion. If you’re releasing a track called ‘I DONT BELIEVE IN GOD’ all in capital letters, you’re already making some kind of statement. This being said though, the issues tackled throughout the album are not referenced insensitively or with malicious intent, but more of a cohesive insight into the minds of these musicians, more as though you were having a conversation with a best mate.

Whilst Mattie’s vocals will undoubtedly be a huge selling point to this band, the accompanying instrumentals cannot be ignored. Every member is clearly remarkably talented in what they do, the drums are intense, the bass pumps and the guitars hold some of the best, most creative soloing techniques I have seen in an awfully long time. Tracks like ‘DO YOU KNOW ME?’ contain licks that will make any budding guitarist wet at the mouth. The unpredictability in the first few listens really does add to the album’s charm and makes for a spectacular experience when hearing these songs for the first few times. At times this effect does make it feel that VANT have somehow managed to create their own, entirely new genre of hard rock.

Very rarely does an album come along where it feels as though every track could be ‘their biggest hit’ and yet DUMB BLOOD achieves just this. Not a single number on this album is filler nor do any lack in passion, composition techniques or general listening enjoyment. For myself, ’HEADED FOR THE SUN’ takes the top spot. The beautiful attention to detail behind the song, through a classic western style intro, full of clichés such as opening lyric: “We don’t approve of your kind around here…” soon combines with delicate instrumentation and, just as you're getting comfortable, it unexpectedly breaks into one of the biggest, catchiest choruses I have ever heard. This perfect concoction of catchy chorus and powerful riffs means that even before your done listening for the first time, you’ll find yourself unknowingly blissfully singing along. ‘HEADED FOR THE SUN’ is by no means the only example of this, and is just one aspect which makes this band so exciting. I can see almost any track in the album being someone’s favourite for a dramatically different reason to my own, and for any album to be able to achieve that, is just fantastic.

As a complete package, DUMB BLOOD delivers exactly where you want it to. If the hardcore riffs begin to get a bit too much, tracks such as ‘KARMA SEEKER’ introduce a different pace to the album which keeps the listen interesting from start to finish as opposed to being one big noisy blur. Or conversely, if more thrashy, messy guitar solos are more your style, ‘PARASITE’ might be the one for you. Essentially, no matter what your musical craving, this album has it covered. I feel that there is little to no doubt that the VANT boys are definitely going to go extremely far and I can very easily see these boys selling out shows and headlining festivals over the next few years. VANT’s unique style is definitely a force to reckon with and one which I feel many will begin incorporating into their own music. If you only manage to find yourself listening to one album this month, DUMB BLOOD would be more than a fantastic choice.

Ben Walker

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