Vanguardian – II: The Heretic

Released first on Limited 12″ vinyl last December and just receiving its digital unveiling, II: The Heretic is the new EP from Finnish band VANGUARDIAN. It is a four track journey through a dark, extreme and progressive metal wrapped alternative reality and a release which has proven more and more fascinating with every play.

Hailing from Jyväskylä and formed in 2019,VANGUARDIAN consists of vocalist M. Martinmäki, guitarist M. Saviranta, drummer T. Jäntti and bassist S. Soisalo, the latter also co-producing the new EP with Anssi Kippo. As mentioned, their sound is bred in a fusion of extreme and progressive metal but embracing other dark flavours in its breath and imagination just as the themes behind releases and songs emerge from the darkest depths and shadows of man.

II: The Heretic is also a collection of tracks which the band recorded in a fully analogue process. It is a move which gives the record a raw breath and organic presence in a proposal which in a way is at odds with the tale the EP casts, one taking “the listener through an alternative reality caused by human nature and technological development (where a) protagonist fights to fix his mistakes, but eventually ends up completing a self-fulfilling prophecy,” yet equally echoes the heart and proposed intent of its core character.

Back To Stone Age opens up the story, a track immediately providing an eventful and imaginative proposal. Its tempestuous heart is soon an open book as the track rises to its creative height yet still aligned to the band’s melodic invention and a potent air of unpredictability. Martinmäki’s tones equally reveal a variety in their trespass, his agitated and often a degree or two calmer tones adeptly lying upon the song’s mercurial and persistently eventful tenebrific landscape.

Absorbing in its enterprise and confrontation, the great start to the release is cemented by The Collider. It too instantly weaves a compelling proposal through guitar and rhythmic incitement, the track soon prowling the senses as dark and extreme textures wrap its instinctive melodic tendrils. As in its predecessor and the following tracks, emotive extremes collude in its nature, the track challenging and seducing simultaneously at certain times, menacingly trespassing in others, with its closing casting of melodic intrigue pure captivation.

Pantheon is next, a melodic shimmer opening up its coaxing and soon its warm stroll, if one courted by the crepuscular breath of the bass. Vocals equally blend warmth and darker incitement, eventually baring a rawer emotive dispute as the track erupts in a melodically strained flame. Instantly compelling with fascination growing by the moment and involvement, the track had us bound in its drama before The Heretic brought the EP to a close.

The EP’s title track immediately launches itself at the senses though tempering its predacious intent with a web of twisting textures and surprise loaded turns as the quartet’s progressive and creative imagination sets another realm to the track and release.

It is fair to say that though we at first found plenty within II: The Heretic to draw us back it has been with subsequent outings that its depths, craft and imagination has firmly seduced, each return more eager than the one before with enjoyment rising with matching escalation.

II: The Heretic is out now via Inverse Records; available @

Pete RingMaster 30/01/2023

Copyright RingMaster Review

Categories: EP, Music

Tags: , , , , , ,

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