A wall of immersive sound you can’t ignore
-- Vain Louie --
|■||Scott Hoeks||Guitars, backing vocals|
Review written by Glenn Schrijvers.
Who is this band?
Vain Louie is a 5-piece Dutch melodic hardcore band hailing out of Nijmegen. They bring an unceasing energy and creative compositions and these ingredients create a wall of sound that you can’t ignore. In recent years Vain Louie has released several singles and shared the stage with other talented hardcore Benelux acts like Adversary, Bloodmoon, Moments, Changing Tides and No Permission. In late 2022 they released their debut album “Time Devours Everything” in late 2022 and while this review is rather late, I really want to shred through this one!
The album's artwork and themes
The album art features a female figure which has her face blurred out in black. She is holding a pen while starring in front of an empty Notebook. The feeling that comes to me is that time fades everything away and with it the human body and all your memories as well. The message that the band shares is this: you can get inspired by your dreams or they can tear you apart. The realm of impossibilities provides hope but is subject to reality. The attraction is the spell and waking up is the tormentor. The search for answers that cannot be given creates a storm of uncertainty. In the middle of that storm, shelter can be found where processing can take place. In the gray areas between black and white, every person is looking for balance. As in life and death, dreaming and the awakening, time devours everything. The album features 11 tracks with a runtime of 40 minutes.
The album's tracks
The openings track is ‘Tragedy Unfolds’ features Tessa Ravestein. The song starts with a upbuilding intro with Tessa chanting and her chants supported by soothing guitar notes. Midway through this track Ruben and Scott bring in the viciousness with their vocals and an immense breakdown. The lyrics are about coping with the loss of a beloved one. The phrase “I carry your love like a shield to my heart” quite hits me emotionally and reminds me of a tragic loss of someone who I held dear. The song succeeds in bringing these emotions translated in music. The feature of Tessa gives the extra touch that is needed for these emotions.
The next track, ‘The Death Of Existence’ is about feeling lost and broken due to said loss of a beloved one. It's a fast-paced track filled with emotional screaming vocals, melodic riffs, pounding drums and a breakdown that makes you mentally have a breakdown with the raw vocals that bring forward such immense emotions like sadness, anger, despair and anxiety. The follow-up, ’The Sun Of Our Perceptions’ takes you on a journey through the different coping stages that determine the direction you're heading for the rest of your life with the memories of the past remaining resident in the back of your head. This track contains more melody and clean vocals, and it reminds me of The Ghost Inside. And I must say that I really dig the clean vocal parts! It really feels like a journey both musically and emotionally switching from screaming to clean vocals, fast paced to slow paced, melody to breakdown.
The album's fourth track, ‘Persistence Of Vision,’ starts with clean vocals and screaming back vocals that comes to an epic chorus of clean vocals that makes you sing along! This song reminds me of Stick To Your Guns but it's not a rip off! This is one of my favorite songs of the album because of the chorus and velocity, a real anthem song! Be warned, fellow Shredders, you'll be headbanging, singing, moshing and 2-stepping all the way to the end! The lyrics describe the feeling that we have when we still can see those who we have lost in ourselves, others and our actions. ‘Distant Fragments' is about situations that we cannot control, and that we must accept the circumstances. For me, this particular song brings backs memories of a distant past, I've experienced those feelings the anger, confusion, betrayal, numbness that this track is all about and its intro is straight in your face anger! We have less clean vocals in this song and a breakdown that unleashes a fury of anger that will certainly make violent pits that can put a troubled mind at ease.
‘Luminescence’ delivers an intermezzo to bring your mind at peace with soothing vocals and the gentle company of guitar and drums. ’A Path Uncrossed’ focuses more on clean vocals and shows the vocal range of Ruben. The lyrics are about being lost again due to the loss of a beloved one that you keep on missing but you want to move on because you're getting tired of seeing the ghosts of your past. ‘Finding Peace In Tragedy' brings another killer track with Tessa bringing solace and Ruben and Scott the anger. The clean vocals remind me sometimes on the cleans of Bleeding Through. Lyrically the song is about not being able to peace in tragedy because your mind is haunted by dark thoughts. The riffs are menacing with the relentless drum beats giving that extra tone to the emotions that are needed to push this song to the next level.
The ninth track, ‘Reconstructing The Past’ is melodic hardcore at its finest! Raw menacing vocals that grab you by the throat and then choking all the live out of you. The clean vocals from both Ruben and Scott give you peace at heart. Yet the breakdown demolishes everything in its path on the last seconds of the song a wet dream for the twosteppers and stagedivers. ‘Lighten The Load Of Life’ immediately kicks in with riffs so heavy that the stank face comes out. Another banging chorus to sing along with the lads and in the shower. We arrived at the conclusion of the album with another Tessa collaboration called ‘The Fabric Of Dreams.’ This track is a perfect example how good the vocals carry the emotions within the lyrics! Furthermore a variety of clean vocals, melodic and chaotic riffs, menacing and soothing drums.
Vain Louie's Time Devours Everything album covers the 7 stages of grief: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance and finally moving on from the grief. Vain Louie succeeds in translating these severe emotions in music with melodic and aggressive riffs, immersive breakdowns, crushing drums, pounding bass and a combination of soothing clean vocals with violent straight uppercut in your face screaming vocals. The addition of Tessa Ravestein's angelic voice brings the songs to an even higher level. You can't describe compare Vain Louie as simply a melodic hardcore version of the Powerpuff Girls but rather inspired by the likes of A Day To Remember, Stick To Your Guns and The Ghost Inside with a serious pinch of breakdowns. This is for fans of Obey The Brave, For The Fallen Dreams, Misery Signals and Bleeding Through.