Oklahoma City based powerhouse VANGOUGH may be named after a post-impressionistic artist, come from a conservative bastion of the U.S. and draw inspiration from a variety of exotic musical styles; yet driven by the explosive, cutting edge vision of guitarist and lead vocalist Clay Withrow, the band’s incisive and infectious songs and intense energy requires adjectives far beyond words that describe mainstream artists. So here’s an opening attempt: committed to drawing listeners into their melodies before totally upending the tea table, they spit fiery madness by drenching your ears with a purple sunrise of melodic cocaine.
Originally formed around Withrow’s well-received 2007 solo debut and evolving over two albums, Vangough – whose current killer lineup includes drummer Kyle Haws and bassist Jeren Martin – combines the groovy attitude of southern metal stalwarts and the quirkiness of contemporary art rock with melodies and textures inspired by music from all over the world. Their often times vintage sound harkens back to the forbearers of progressive rock, giving them a slightly retro feel while retaining the freshness of a forward thinking contemporary band.
“The vibe that we developed as Vangough often leads to our being categorized as progressive metal,” says Withrow, “but we’re not quite heavy enough for metalheads and probably too heavy for everyone else below that bar. With that said, if you’re hoping that we sound just like your favorite band, then we’re probably not the band for you. But if you’re brave enough to embrace something different then climb aboard. Each song on Between the Madness makes its own statement and gets on its own soapbox addressing different issues. The effect musically and lyrically is a combination of endearment and elements that are bound to slightly offend people’s sensibilities. It’s cool to draw them in with the beautiful nature of the music and then abruptly shock them—but that’s rock and roll, isn’t it? Music should stand for something and always be on the edge.”
With their newly completed third album, the tempestuous Between the Madness, VANGOUGH have stepped out of the shadows of their influences and delivered something emotionally outstanding and heartfelt. A lyrically poignant collection of songs that bravely pushes the band into an unexplored minefield of musicality, Between the Madness is brave, eccentric and chemically unstable. It is a landmark in the band’s career and sure to become a staple in the progressive metal scene.
Featuring a darker more unified sound, this album is a caustic and vicious spiral into the depths of human frailty. With tracks like “Infestation” and “Thy Flesh Consumed” pushing the boundaries of Vangough’s tempestuous new approach to metal, Between the Madness is a stark contrast to the previous albums. It stands as a bold statement to where the band is heading, as well as a thought-provoking reflection on where they have been. With a greater emphasis on collaboration from bandmates Jeren and Kyle, Vangough were able to craft an even more distinctive style that focuses more on groove and feeling. In other words, this is the album fans have been waiting for.
Once again produced by guitarist/vocalist Clay Withrow, Between the Madness was an intentional move to mature the band’s sound, both vocally and with the song’s arrangements, into something that stood out among progressive metal releases. “I find that I don’t listen to much music in our particular genre,” explains Clay. “With that in mind, I wanted to make something that had its own unique flavor- apart from everything else that has come before us.”
With the release of their third album, Vangough have stepped out of the shadows of their influences and delivered something emotionally outstanding and heartfelt. A lyrically poignant collection of songs that bravely pushes the band into an unexplored minefield of musicality. “Between the Madness is the most collaborative Vangough album to date,” says Clay. “It took two albums to really mine the depths of what we could achieve and where we wanted to be musically but the end result is extremely cathartic.” With a busy 2014 ahead them with an appearance in September opening for progressive metal titans PAIN OF SALVATION at ProgPower USA in Atlanta, as well as a North American fall tour, Vangough are poised to take over the progressive metal scene. Metal Underground sums it up succinctly in their review of Between the Madness saying, “put simply, there has never been a better time to jump off of whatever progressive metal train you’ve been on and ride with Vangough. “Into the dark I take you,” Withrow jabs at us. Make sure your seatbelts are securely fastened.”
“These guys are easily one of the best U.S. prog metal bands going right now.” -Prog Metal Zone
“Vangough’s “Between the Madness” is an album of stellar yet epic proportions, and will not disappoint fans of progressive rock and metal.” -Intensely Explicit
“By far the best of the year, hands down.” -Razor Metal Magazine
“There has never been a better time to jump off of whatever progressive metal train you’ve been on and ride with Vangough.” -Metal Underground
“It is easily the best that they have done. 5/5 stars.” -Prog-Archives
“With its dire lyrical content and intriguing music, Between the Madness will be a challenging and entertaining listen for the prog metal fan.” -Danger Dog Music Reviews
“A beautiful album with a lot of spice and variety.” –Lords of Metal