Friday, December 06, 2013

Vaura: The Missing (2013)

The Only Thing Missing Is My Knowledge of Dysrhythmia

Now, this is an unexpected surprise. Vaura is a project made up of people you may be familiar with, but I think their identities are far less interesting than what they’re doing on The Missing.

This record is progressive metal that draws significantly from hook-oriented goth rock and from a certain Brooklyn prog-black style you may know. The Cure meets Krallice, if you will. (To be perfectly honest, I’ve never heard Dysrhythmia before, and that could be a better touchstone given the shared presence of Kevin Hufnagel.) Since I’ve had such an interest in certain kinds of the goth rock / deathrock style lately, Vaura came to me at just the right time.

Mostly, The Missing is just catchy metal with clean vocals and a fantastic mix that gives breathing room to all the instruments and doesn’t bury the bass. The progressive aspect of it comes mostly from the fact that the guitar is showy in a Krallice kind of way. The compositions are complex, but they don't seem complex if you just let it wash over you. It's got a lot of showing off, but all in service of the song. OK, metaphor: If Krallice is the Harlem globetrotters just tossing the ball around in some choreographed pattern and showing off, Vaura is the Globetrotters still being showy, but playing a game, heading toward a real goal and shooting baskets. The metaphor ends its usefulness there, but you should also know there are a few parts where they do some tremolo riffing that almost comes off as blackened.

So, Vaura may just please the most desperate prog fans who want spiraling guitar virtuosity as well as those who like hooks. Check “Abeyance” for a good measure of both. And it may just conjure a reference to moody goth rock like the Cure here and there. Check “Mare of the Snake,” especially. It’s certainly different from any other record this year.

The Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

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