Like many of the Hardcore acts have done in the last few years, VHAN are combining elements of Thrash Metal and Hardcore into their music to create an experience of pure energy release. Whereas some of the Hardcore bands that moved in this direction, SWORN ENEMY or THE AGONY SCENE for example, VHAN is starting off right there and skipping the releases of straight up Hardcore. “Hero Vs Hero”, their debut album, is right along the lines of the later albums of the above mentioned bands too both in style and quality.
Essentially, VHAN is one of those bands that ride along the edge of that double sided sword. They play a style of music that has become a familiar sound in the last few years, so fans of said sound are going to really groove into this album. Alas, this is also its downfall as most of the music on “Hero Vs Hero” carries this memory of already being heard before. VHAN doesn’t do much to counteract this element of their debut album and even though it does feel comfortable, much of the release is going to stay within those confines and remain unmemorable.
Sans the ‘too comforting for its own good’ factor, this is a pretty solid release. It’s mostly Thrash elements as put together by Hardcore folks into Hardcore (or Metalcore at this point) song structuring. The listener is nailed with some nice Thrashy riffs and some razor sharp leads and some brief soloing that emerge from the rhythm heavy band check out some of the really cool leads on “The Faithful”. With the band’s focus on rhythm, there is also a significant amount of weight placed on the simplistic and straight up bass and drum work. This left me wanting a bit more at times, but it works for the majority of the release and allows the band to keep up some continued energy through the Thrash elements and the Hardcore breakdowns.
If you are a fan of newer THROWDOWN and the previously mentioned acts, then VHAN will be a nice addition to your collection. The sound may not be original but it also doesn’t mess with a well worn formula. Personally, “Hero Vs Hero” was a little too ‘same ole same ole’ for my tastes and not enough individualistic elements to make this a must have. The additional leads and solos were a nice touch but not quite enough to make me rave.
Songs to check out: “The Faithful”, “The Hunt”, “Secret”.
(Online August 15, 2009)