Published on January 26th, 2017 | by Justin G.
Vanishing Point: Tangled in Dream (Special Edition)
While we’re waiting for a new studio album from Australian melodic progressive metal band Vanishing Point, the band (and their label, AFM) has delivered a Special Edition reissue of their breakthrough 2000 album Tangled in Dream. Not only was this the album that introduced the band to a wider audience via the LMP label, Tangled in Dream was also the first Vanishing Point album to feature guitarist Chris Porcianko, who has been a major songwriting force in the 17 years since.
FANBOY WARNING: So this is one of my favorite albums ever. I remember picking it up in 2002 because of the cover art, seeing the sticker proclaiming it “melodic progressive metal” and taking it to the counter to sample it (for you youngsters, this was the 2002 equivalent of checking out a YouTube clip). I think I made it 30 seconds into leadoff track “Surreal” before my jaw hit the floor. A minute later Silvio Massaro’s vocals kicked in and I knew I had to have it. I’ve probably listened to this album more than a hundred times since then, and it still affects me the same way. I’m beyond excited to see it reissued, not only so I can hear the bonus tracks, but because more people will get a chance to experience this underrated classic of melodic progressive metal.
OK, BACK TO THE REVIEW PART: While the band’s debut album In Thought was solid enough, Vanishing Point really took their sound to a new level on Tangled in Dream. You can tell as soon as the melodic hooks of opening song “Surreal” kick in that you’re in for something special. The band took some cues from Dream Theater’s approach to prog metal (what band in 2000 didn’t?), but also had a lot in common with the more melodic power metal bands. The melodies are so dynamic, capturing your full attention right from the start, but there’s also a satisfying level of technicality to these songs. The symphonic keyboards are a nice accent to the music as well, and serve as a taste of how later Vanishing Point albums would unfold. And of course a key element to Vanishing Point’s sound are the warm, steady vocals of Silvio Massaro. In a genre where most vocalists opt for high-octave wails or piercing screams, Massaro’s deeper, more soulful tones really stand out.
I mentioned “Surreal” already, and that’s always going to be my favorite Vanishing Point song. Tangled in Dream is just loaded with amazing songs though. “Samsara” remains a fan favorite, and “Never Walk Away” and “Two Minds One Soul” hit the perfect mix of heaviness, technicality and melody, while slower, more emotional songs like “Bring On the Rain” and “Dancing With the Devil” resonate in a totally different way. There are no weak moments here though.
Tangled in Dream makes an amazing first impression, and remains one of Vanishing Point’s finest albums. The kind of melodic metal you can get lost in, Tangled in Dream is an album that should be heard by fans of early Dream Theater, mid-period Fates Warning, and bands like Circus Maximus, Kamelot, Seventh Wonder and Vanden Plas. It’s been out of print for a good while, but thanks to this reissue, it is getting a much-deserved second chance.
Reissue Notes: The 2017 Special Edition of Tangled in Dream is a hefty, two-disc reissue. The first disc features the original Tangled in Dream album. It has not been remixed, remastered or otherwise tinkered with aside from taking the hidden track from the end of “Tangled in Dream” and putting it on the second disc. You normally see some remastering when these older albums get released, but Tangled in Dream really didn’t need it.
Disc two features ten rarities that should more than satisfy people (like me) who were perfectly happy with the original pressing of Tangled in Dream. It includes a newly recorded (and previously unreleased) version of “Samsara” that has a heavier, more symphonic tone that matches the newer Vanishing Point albums’ sound. After that is a very heavy cover of the Journey song “Separate Ways” that will require epic air-keyboarding, followed by the cover of Pink Floyd’s “On the Turning Away” that was previously a hidden track. It’s great to have it as a separate track here. We also get a pair of songs – “The Endless Road” and Veil of Deceit” that were previously only available as bonus tracks on the Japanese pressings of Distant Is the Sun and The Fourth Season, respectively. The disc closes with four “Live and Unplugged” recordings from 2003. The collection of rare tracks is impressive enough to be worth a separate release on its own, so they’ve given long-time fans plenty of reasons to upgrade here.
Summary: This is a fantastic reissue of one of my favorite albums. Two thumbs way up!