‘Leaving Lyra’ is the second EP from Bedfordshire’s V/Vega and offers a sound that’s so well refined and balanced, it’s hard to believe that just over a year ago, this quartet hadn’t yet played a gig together. Heavy riffs and screams blend with ambient, atmospheric guitars, accentuated by melodic vocals and harmonies, to produce a formula reminiscent of Northlane’s most recent effort ‘Node’. Where V/Vega’s technical, progressive metal formula is particularly refreshing though is the attention given to dynamics and tempo changes within songs, which provides excellent variation and further depth to their sound.
Opening track ‘Lyra’ flows through mid-tempo rhythms and bass-heavy verses to aggressive bursts of heavy riffs, which guides the song through a journey of emotions and moods. ‘Wanderer’s’ multi-faceted vocal approach brings Periphery’s Spencer Stoleto to mind, with a range of screams from deep guttural bellows to higher-pitched, throaty shouts, before switching seamlessly to brilliantly-delivered clean vocals that bring the hooks and melodies.
The instrumentation is complex enough to demonstrate skill but is tastefully restrained to prevent any individual performance overwhelming the songs as a whole. The rhythm section’s intricate patterns and varied time signatures tie perfectly to guitars that switch from heavy riffs to ambient lead lines, underpinned by an ever-prominent bass tone. The way each individual performance is balanced against the band’s sound as a whole demonstrates an excellent level of maturity in the songwriting, which at this early stage in their career gives them huge potential for the future.
The technical metal genre can be guilty of producing stagnant records that focus too much on musical complexity and not enough on ensuring the core songs themselves are interesting and memorable. ’Leaving Lyra’ avoids this trap by using dynamic shifts in tempo to deliver interesting song structures and variations in mood. As a four track EP it’s too early to determine whether this would hold true over a full-length record, but there’s enough quality on show here to make you want to find out.
’Leaving Lyra’ by V/Vega is released on October 2nd via Crooked Noise Records.
Words by Mark Johnson (@Testwood)