Track Review: “Grey Morality” from Vanitas

After the success they had in 2023 you could be forgiven for thinking that rising Cinematic DJent pioneers Vanitas would rest on their laurels and shoehorn in as many shows as humanly possible before returning the the studio. Instead however the Birmingham based quintet have other ideas and are showing no signs of slowing down, keen to continue to build the mountain after four incredible singles and a self titled debut EP since 2022. When we interviewed them back in January they said they had something darker in mind for their next release and given the title “Grey Morality” sounds like they might have it nailed. Mixed and mastered by Matt Jones (Fury, Ironside, Dakesis) at CapsArx Studios, who also handled the orchestral programming, the track is accompanied by a suitably fitting music video courtesy of Dark North Media (Trendkill).

Up until Vanitas released single “Secrets” in October last year they hadn’t given any warning that vocalist Jade Maris would consider using any unclean vocals even though they had a couple of tracks that would suit their addition. Once they’d taken the plunge it was inevitable that the extremes within their sound would push out and unless they consciously reigned the uncleans in, they’d get used more. Within a few seconds and seemingly from out of nowhere, this new cut comes in with a line that stylistically finds Maris taking a leaf from the book of Megan Targett of Progressive Deathcore outfit Vexed with a similar throaty growled sound. It’s a moment that grabs the attention and causes a double take like wait… what?! and is then repeated in a vicious pre-chorus that feels like the venomous inner demon of a woman scorned. The clever thing is that the band haven’t over indulged, instead using those unclean vocals an an embellishment in the same what that the orchestrations from Jones do, to enhance their offering rather than to be an either or. Maris has always given the band glorious, soaring clean vocals and also does to here, however it’s the juxtaposition between the two that give this one a real wow factor and point of difference.

Sonically this one is significantly heavier than some of the bands previous offerings and very much in keeping with “Secrets“. Instead of being Cinematic DJent, suddenly the phoenix that rose from the ashes of Verb The Noun and Aramantus has not only taken to flight but is crossing borders and boundaries with consummate ease. There is a verve and swagger to “Grey Morality” as Vanitas have found a new level of confidence with their success and trust in themselves so this track has an air of Symphonic Metal with the clean vocal parts and orchestrations (and even some icy keys) but also the aggression of Progressive Metalcore with the unclean vocals and crunching guitar work. Axe wielding duo Mitchell Barlow and Elijah Storer offer up faster paced, spine juddering technical riffs that raise the hairs on the back of the neck while the pulverising rhythms of bassist Jon Willingham and drummer Jackson Cann cause the ground to tremble beneath our feet. Somehow Vanitas have found a secret formula to achieving balance between beauty and beast, savage and striking. They’ve applied it to “Grey Morality” and the result is nothing short of incredible. If you haven’t already had the pleasure then what are you waiting for?! [9.5/10]

Grey Morality” by Vanitas is out now and available over at bandcamp.

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