[review originally published on http://thecennsor.wordpress.com/]
Instant q&a: how many of you aren’t fascinated with the picture to the right? A blindfold girl playing a violin on the shore under a dark cloudy sky: now that speaks of poetry – here’s what I thought when I ran into it. And of course, that could as well be but a decoy, luring you into believing what’s inside matches the beauty of what’s outside, and then leaving you disappointed. Fortunately, that’s not the case.
Little had I heard by this band before; but to those of you who are already familiar with them, I can say our Aussies are keeping up what they’ve been doing so far. And to those of you who are new to them, I specify: what they’ve been up so far, is very good music. Sure, but what does it sound like then?
Imagine a heavier kind of melodic rock – let’s just say melodic metal. You may as well take AOR as a starting point; add some heaviness, and an orchestral-driven sound, and you come quite close to guess what kind of music Vanishing Point make. So far, so banal – lest you’re into AOR and the such, and if you are, this album is a must-have. What makes something more out of The Fourth Season though, is that it can appeal to the AOR non-lovers as well. The symphonic approach to it, the thickness of the sound (which at the same time is very melodic), even the vague lyrics make it a dense, compact, prime quality work. But before I turn this from a simple appreciation into a quest for the most alluring definition (yeah, even i got better things to do), I’ll try to give you a quick stare at what’s to be found on the album.
Surrender is the first hit. No wonder it was also made into a videoclip. Its start does a nice testimony to the spirit of the whole album. Refrains and verses are equally catchy; and that also applies to the rest of the album, most evident on the following Hope Among the Heartless and on a consistent bunch of other songs too. To name some of the songs’ unique features, I might mention the epicity of I Within I (introduced by an awesome short instrumental), as well as the prog-flavoured gait of Ashen Sky, or the “cloudy” thoughtfulness of the final Day of Difference, closing the album in a slowly, peaceful fade-out which is just the most fitting of endings.
THUS SPAKE THE CENNSOR: The Fourth Season‘s melodies will lure you in a convincing way; once you’re caught, the power of the sound which has come to surround you will not easily let you escape. And you will probably not even want to. I have honestly not heard so many, but this is the first AOR (or quasi-AOR) record to sort of win my cold, icy, heartless soul of a progster. That alone should mean something. 8/10