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"VAINGLORY (7.5/10)"

Tired of all the cross-pollinating 'core bands filling the shelves at your store of choice? How about a no-bullshit, traditional metal CD that relies on blazing riffs, shredding solos, and a go-for-the-jugular delivery to make its point? You just found it in VAINGLORY's self-titled second release. Guitar beast Corbin King and monster vocalist Kate French (CHASTAIN) lead this bunch, peeling out of the gates and not letting up until all that is left is a smoldering pile of deafened metal heads.

Sixty-six minutes seems a tad long, but it is mainly because many of the songs are in the five to six minute range. Even then, instrumental excess is kept to a minimum, the riff-choked songs fairly memorable and always heavy as hell. While "Vainglory" is not propelled by the same kind of thrashy, often TESTAMENT-sounding assault of a PAINMUSEUM, there are a few similarities in the way the fire burns dangerously hot (think in terms of a heavier classic metal sound that doesn't come off dated). Once you've made it through the explosive, flaying riffs and up-tempo delivery of album-opener "Walking Dead" (featuring one of the more memorable choruses), you've got a pretty good idea of what to expect the rest of the way. Well-placed melodic leads and thunderous double-bass make "Burdened" one of the better tracks as well. A bit of early PRIMAL FEAR is heard on a song like "Face of Death", the guitars especially sharp here. The band changes up the pace nicely on a few tracks, particularly on "Undying Love", a track featuring sections of spooky light picking and dark atmosphere that still boasts plenty of riff crunch and quicker tempos. Not surprisingly, an instrumental ("Decapitation Attack") is included, the raging track fitting in just as snugly as the rest of the material. Of course, King bleeds his six-string all over the album, but the effect rarely sounds pretentious or overdone. And French's vocals are just plain nasty and full of metallic intensity.

Fans of true blue heavy metal will find a lot to like in VAINGLORY's sophomore release. It is exactly what it purports to be: an aggressive, in-your-face heavy metal album. "Hard as iron, tough as steel" is the phrase that comes to mind.
- Scott Alisoglu: BLABBERMOUTH.NET


Holly thunderfuck! Just to rephrase NBA’s favorite quote "heavy metal, I love this music"! Being a loyal fan of US metal (metalcore is NOT US metal) and neoclassical metal (the way it was defined by the early works of Yngwie J. Malmsteen with RISING FORCE) I got a huge hard on while listening this piece of work. VAINGLORYis so massive that nearly blew my speakers!

VAINGLORY has already released one more album back in 2003 titled "2050". I haven’t heard it so please don’t ask for comparisons. Line up changes occurred and Kate Fench now occupies the vocal spot. Now this gal also sang in the last (and very good) CHASTAIN album ("In An Outrage" 2005). Let me tell you this: Kate has more "balls" than many male opponents. Damn true, this lady has a soaring voice that feels like a dozen hammers doing a nasty damage on your head. Definition of US metal: bombastic, massive, rhythmical, furious metal with insane guitar parts and solo. Yeap, I manage to pin-point the sucker. Corbin King delivers an album so pumped up that gives you the impression things will start exploding every minute now. Packed with fine solos and a lot of variety: the opener "Walking Dead" is rather modern, "The Only Way I Know" is a mid-tempo dynamite while on "Midnight Hellfire" delivers a more catchy side of their music.

The production is insanely aggressive. I have heard death metal albums with less massive sound (yeah, they all came from Sweden). This is indeed a quite clever move from the band: the genre they follow has suffered a lot in the hands of producers with archeological point of view in matters of production, one of the few acts following the same approach is BRAINSTORM.

Bottom line is that this is an album that will make all you US metal maniacs very happy. I don’t know how easy is to track this baby down (since I have never heard their label before) but it’s worthy of your time.
- Michael Dalakos:

"VAINGLORY (10/10)"

HOLY CRAP, talk about a 100% improvement from the last album! With the addition of Kate French on vocals and Corbin King and his continued ripping guitars, this album simply Kicks your ass! Kate's vocals sound so amazingly aggressive you would never know it's not a guy like Kelly Sundown ripping it up! The production is so much tighter than the band's debut. One word comes to mind....SOLIDIFICATION. SOLID, this is so SOLID in Nightmare Records opinion were giving it a 10/10!

"VAINGLORY (Excellent)"

Ever get the feeling that most domestic-based Heavy Metal bands lack the musical conviction and lyrical sincerity of their European counterparts? Stop and actually think about it for a second or two. Although I’ll be the first to admit I wholeheartedly enjoy the now pioneering works of early Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer as much--if not more--than the average self-proclaimed music geek, I frequently find myself disappointed by the lack of quality that often characterizes the output of many “American” groups. Accordingly, it’s not often that I am afforded a genuine opportunity to use descriptives such as ‘…a breath of fresh air…’ while keeping a straight face. Fortunately for all parties involved, this is most definitely not the case with the much-anticipated sophomore effort from Atlanta, Georgia-based quintet Vainglory.

On the brilliant Vainglory (2006), an expertly assembled twelve song collection of uncompromisingly punishing (and arguably Power and Progressive-tinged) Heavy Metal, each track, beginning with the relentlessly pummeling “Walking Dead”, and the ridiculously exhaustive “The Only Way I Know”, immediately commands the rapt and undivided attention of all parties involved--most notably myself--via a seamless, frequently full-throttle barrage of searing vocals, scalding fretwork and unusually abusive rhythms. Undoubtedly attempting to engulf the average listener amid an ensemble that will hopefully inspire both multiple spins and earn the fledgling act more than a few new fans, the group’s multi-layered attack batters one’s senses like a runaway truck, leaving the listener bruised and broken…but oddly satisfied.

Continuing with the smoldering, emotion-laden “Undying Love”, and the appropriately thunderous “Act Of God”, the steadfast--to say the very least--combination of former Chastain vocalist Kate French (replacing the inexplicably absent Ted Brasier, who was at the helm for the group’s debut), lead guitarist/songwriter Corbin King, rhythm guitarist John Michael Youngblood, bassist Chris Banja and drummer Dan Lynch steamroll ahead like the well-oiled machine they have obviously become. Refusing to conform to the downtrodden, tried and true formulas so often embraced by the so-called crem de la crem of the mainstream, the group stomps, twists and turns through each carefully crafted composition with an almost sickening ease, proving themselves easily worthy of the highest of critical accolades.

Co-produced by French and King (with King also deftly handling the mixing and mastering duties) at Atlanta, Georgia-based King Studios, other standouts, including the blistering “Endlessly”, and the roaring, equally impressive closer “My Living Hell”, only further solidify the group’s already burgeoning reputation as a creative force not to be ignored, a characteristic that instantly sets the ferocious fivesome apart from their few would-be contemporaries. Even if you somehow find yourself unable--or you are simply reluctant--to openly embrace the group’s obvious focus on figuratively decapitating the occasional non-believer (hey…you definitely know who you are), one must, at the very least, sincerely admire the group’s ability to effectively harness the finest elements of a bygone era without sounding forced or dated.

So you’re still not sure you’ll like it? C’mon, man…what in the hell have you honestly got to loose? An absolute must have for those of us that continue to mourn the apparently rapidly declining ‘…traditional…’ (i.e. Old School) Heavy Metal genre, the majority--if not all--of the decidedly fierce, over-the-top wares contained herein resonate throughout with enough bad ass attitude, intelligent songwriting and airtight musicianship to seemingly satisfy even the most absurdly dedicated of die-hards. Thus, if you’ve once again found yourself in search of a fist-pumping, mosh-inducing alternative to the painfully mindless bullshit that is so often force fed en mass (gee…I just can’t freakin’ wait for the new Korn album) then this, my friends, might just be what the doctor ordered. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
- Todd Newton:

"VAINGLORY (8.5/10)"

Zugegeben, Vainglory hauen mit ihrer Promokampagne ganz schön auf die Sahne, aber Klappern gehört bekanntlich zum Handwerk und mittlerweile nehmen doch wohl weder Rezensenten noch Fans diesen übertriebenen Mist wirklich ernst. Blöd eigentlich, weil die Band das gar nicht nötig hätte. Vainglory veröffentlichten vor einigen Jahren schon einmal eine Scheibe namens „2050“, die aber auf dem stürmischen Musik-Markt unterging. Von der damaligen Besetzung scheint nur noch Songwriter und Gitarrist Corbin King übrig geblieben zu sein. Insbesondere die Umsetzung am Mikro fällt dabei doch ebenso ins Auge wie ins Ohr. Die in Kalifornien beheimatete Kate French – der eigentliche Bandsitz ist in Georgia – hat diese Rolle übernommen und fügt dabei das letzte Steinchen ins Mosaik. Vainglorys erste Scheibe erschien auf dem Leviathan-Label von David T. Chastain, Corbin King ist ein Gitarrenvirtuose par excellenze und genannte Kate French singt noch in einer weiteren Kapelle, nämlich eben jener Combo von Mr. Chastain. Kein Wunder, dass Vainglorys Musik des Öfteren an alte Chastain-Scheiben mit Ex-Frontröhre Leather Leone erinnert. Zwar ist Kates Stimme nicht ganz so rau, aber der Gesang tendiert, ebenso wie die Musik, in eine ähnliche Richtung. Gitarrenbetonter, melodischer und oftmals recht erdiger US-Metal. Wer Alben wie beispielsweise “Ruler Of The Wasteland” liebt, den wird auch Vainglorys aktuelles Werk keinesfalls enttäuschen. „Walking Dead“ entpuppt sich da als fescher Opener am Rande zum Thrash, „Burdened“ – zu dem auch ein Video auf der CD enthalten ist – wartet mit geiler Gitarrenmelodie auf, während „Face Of Death“ gleichermaßen vom furiosen Opening Riff, dem treibenden Drumming sowie dem rauen Gesang lebt. „Undying Love“ ist eine coole Powerballade, „Decapitation Attack“ das obligatorische, aber gute Instrumental und „Endlessly“ ebenfalls eine starke Nummer. Einziger Kritikpunkt ist, dass nicht alle der 12 Nummern einen gleichstarken Eindruck hinterlassen. So erscheint „Blackened Soul“ z.B. eher als Füller und drückt somit den sonst durchweg guten Eindruck ein wenig.
- (In German)

"VAINGLORY (8/10)"

Comments: When you think of the best shredders in the industry, there are a lot of names that come to mind. If the name Corbin King doesn't instantly pop into your head after hearing the new Vainglory, then you need to get hearing aids, a cochlear implant, or both. Vainglory's new self-titled CD has everything an addicted guitarhead needs in his daily metal dosage, and to boot, it features one of the best female metal vocalists out there as well, Kate French. French and King bring platter after platter full of talent to the table, and they combine to form a raging songwriting duo as well. That's what you get when you sink your fangs into the new Vainglory …

The CD begins with explosions, artillery fire, and more mayhem festering in the background on the track "Walking Dead." Then King unleashes a venomous riff, followed by a brief guitar blast that is both fast and fluid. French - who you may have heard on the most recent album by another underrated guitar genius, David T. Chastain - has vocals that belie her appearance. Sure, she looks like a metalhead, but it doesn't seem like she could be this pissed off. Well, she is, and perfectly in tune, which is the important part. In fact, when you compare her vocals here to the last Chastain release, you'll see she's made marked improvement vocally across the board. King's solo rages effortlessly, sounding somewhat like Zakk Wylde with its full tones, but King plays with more aggression than Wylde, if that's possible.

"The Only Way I Know" is a heavy stomper, a song that'll have you slamming your head against hopefully moveable objects. After about a 45-second intro and a brief interlude, French shows another facet to her voice, melding melody and power with equal fervor. The rhythm section of bassist Chris Banja and drums of Dan Lynch must have a hey-day on this one as well. King rips into another searing solo, abusing the guitar with sheer speed and technique.

When Vainglory finally takes their respective foot off the pedal, it's on the song "Undying Love." Now, this isn't the kind of track French is known for, except for her maybe in parts of Chastain's release "Hamunaptra." She completely removes the edge from her voice, proving that soulful singing and metal screaming both feel at home on her vocal cords. Well, that's until about two minutes in, and then King's guitar destroys the peace for a good 20 seconds. The second verse is slowed down, back to the beginning, and it's honest hearing French sing with such earnestness, "Over and over, the fights we've had. The same old shit, a different day." Part of the reason this songs works so well is that you know, throughout the song, it's building and building to another aural onslaught. French screams a note only Halford or Harnell could hit on purpose, and then King plays a more controlled, mournful solo.

Now, the gloves come off on "Decapitation Attack." If you want to know why King has to be accepted into the pantheon of guitar greats, go no further than this track. It's a five-minute instrumental, showcasing all of the different techniques, speeds, and overall adeptness King wields in a seemingly effortless fashion. How does five minutes blow by so quickly? It's rare that an instrumental can be the best track on a release that isn't a full instrumental CD, but this packs the same wallop as "Walking Dead" or "Face of Death," for sure.

Vainglory's sound is all over the metal map, in a good way. Are they Power Metal? No, but on the track "Endlessly," the riff is a Power Metal one, and it's gigantic. Also, French's vocal rhythms are a big more sing-song than on the other tracks, leaning closer to that genre again. Couple that with the expert drumming and almost Dragonforce-like guitar passages in the middle of the verses … oh screw it, this is a Power Metal composition.

This all leads up into the final track, "A Living Hell." By now, you'll start expecting this frantic guitar intros to each song, and you'll be used to French sliding back and forth between screams, shouts and her regular delivery. This is one of the angriest songs on the release, another breakneck rocker that fires on all engines.

It's tough to find anything remotely wrong with this release. If you have to nitpick, it'd be that the production doesn't allow the rhythm section its day in the sun, so to speak. But Vainglory is about King, and French, and the production on both guitar and vocals do this release more than just justice.

If you are a fan of Metal in any way, shape, or form, you owe it to yourself to check the new Vainglory out. And if you are just in it for guitar shredding and massive leads, you'll get that too. The scary thing is, this is just a studio release; can you even imagine how spectacularly rabid this would sound in a live venue?

Great freakin' album, Vainglory.
- Hardrock Haven: Derric Miller

"VAINGLORY (4.5/5)"

VainGlory is fronted by a beautiful female vocalist whose powerful vocals puts to shame those of many male metal vocalists. Don't let her looks fool you, this lady has pipes that will tear your head off! And no, I don't mean in a cookie monster way. They are melodic, but full of power and sound VERY metal! When searching for a vocal similarity for vocalist Kate French, you're best off looking to someone like Mike Howe of Metal Church then to any random cookie cutter Helloween clone. Musically, the band are what most usually call powerful power metal (emphasis on the powerful part!). That means no flutes, harpsichords, or hobbits...just aggressive and speedy heavy metal with virtuoso guitar playing.

I have not heard VainGlory's debut from nearly SIX(!) years ago called 2050. Oddly, this new album is the band's second and for all intents and purposes should be considered their first. Along with the vocals, the other stand out factor of VainGlory is lead guitarist Corbin King. His lead playing is influenced by the neo-classical shred school. Of course, we cannot mention that style without reference to one of the founders of the style, Yngwie Malmsteen. Clearly, Yngwie made an impression on Corbin. Even though the rhythms sound thick and not far removed from other modern power metallers, the lead tone has that single coil Strat pick-up sound that you hear from Yngwie. I'm not sure if that's what recorded with, but the sound is a reference point. At times Corbin uses a wah pedal, not over the top, but uses it effectively. And even though this is irrelevant to the review, I gotta comment on Corbin's first glance with his Dean guitar, long curly hair and goatee you'd swear it was Dimebag Darryl (RIP)! The song “Midnight Hellfire” starts out with a groovy riff that could have been off a later era Pantera album, so the look is not without it's musical connection in the band. For the most part though, the music is double kicking and fast, not groovy. The other groover on the album is “Blackened Soul” - not a stand-out track for me as I prefer the speed! One of the stand outs for me is “Face of Death” which has a catchy vocal melody over some near thrash-metal riffage. Most of the album is speedy stuff, things only first slow down by the album's sixth track, “Undying Love”. It begins with clean guitar and lead guitar before Kate's vocals come in. She is not belting it out over the mellower parts of the song, and she sounds more, shall we say, 'normal'. She sounds much more impressive when she's giving it her all. The song switches back and forth between the slow and heavy/speedy sections. For shred heads, we have the track “Decapitation Attack”. It starts out sounding super fast with tremolo picked riffing and insane ripping guitars. This instrumental really showcases the lead playing of Corbin. The guy is a shred machine, awesome! Although I love shred guitar, I don't like mindless noodling and Corbin's playing sounds anything but mindless. This is melodic and there are parts that are very memorable, not just wanking.

Fans of aggressive heavy power metal (Primal Fear, Jag Panzer, etc.) and of killer lead guitar playing (Yngwie, Joe Stump, etc.) should check out VainGlory. When I first heard the band name, I thought of Edguy's 'Vain Glory Opera'...and that is the only similarity as the two bands share very little common ground. For those interested in hearing more of Kate French, she is also the singer in Chastain. For shred heads, Corbin has also released stuff on his own and with other bands (check I just hope that VainGlory gets heard by those into the aforementioned styles and bands as they have as much (if not more) to offer as any of the current leaders of the style.
- Evil G:


MTM Records
Reviewed by Rory Brennan

Lightning fast shredding, driving, concrete-heavy riffs and stupendously powerful, aggressive-yet-soaring vocals combine to deliver a stunning slice of American Power Metal on Vainglory’s self-titled release.

Taking their cues from the classic metal bands of yore, with obvious points of reference including such luminaries as Testament, Metallica, Megadeth, and most notably Pantera, Vainglory even go so far as to incorporate a Dimebag Darrell look-alike into their ranks! And much like the sadly departed legend of guitar, Vainglory’s lead axeman Corbin King is a shockingly talented player.

But what really sets this band apart from their influences is frontwoman Kate French. The former Chastain vocalist is in possession of a frankly awe-inspiring set of pipes. She is aggressive, yet always perfectly in tune with the swirling maelstrom of virtuosic riffery erupting around her. Never straying into generic ‘Cookie Monster’ growls, French’s aggression and power come from sheer, honest passion and talent, and she can switch from heartfelt, impassioned croon to full pelt, Doro-esque power (there truly is no other word that is fitting) seemingly at the flick of a switch. She really must be heard to be believed.

Exploding out of the gates with the sickeningly fast ‘Walking Dead’, Vainglory immediately set out their stall. This is classic, thrashy speed-metal of the highest calibre, with an added aura of epic grandeur a la Nevermore. Other musical similarities come in ‘Face of Death’, which could be a harder-edged, more thrashy Dragonforce, such is the melodic intricacy of the lightning-paced leads and solo sections so effortlessly dished out by guitar supremo King. Elsewhere, ‘Midnight Hellfire’, is pure Pantera worship, sounding not unlike the thick, almost sludgy grooves of the Texan legends’ Far Beyond Driven.

If pressed for a downside, the only one you could give is that perhaps the production doesn’t give enough credit to the rhythm section. It’s not underpowered by any means, it’s merely dominated by the simply astounding performances of French and King, and you can’t help but think that was probably the intention all along. It doesn’t serve to hinder this album one bit. This reviewer could quite happily listen to it all day long.

Quite simply, Vainglory have produced an absolute, stone cold classic here. If they aren’t the next big thing to come out of the States, I will eat my hat. And I am so confident in that, that I don’t even own a hat.
- Rory Brennan:


Vainglory - Vainglory - added - April 3rd, 2007
Reviewer: Ruben Mosqueda


Vainglory is an American power metal band with musical roots in European heavy metal. Vainglory is fronted by the gorgeous Kate French, who is not only good on the eyes but also can belt out one hell of a tune. Some of you might know Kate from her work with David T. Chastain’s album In An Outrage. On that album her performance wasn’t as strong perhaps because she was more or less a hired gun, which often reflects on the final product. Vainglory will have mass appeal to the fans of the neoclassical metal that was popularized by Ynwgie Malmsteen and his band Rising Force.

Vainglory bares a bombastic, gritty, in your face and furious production that isn’t often heard on power metal records. Vainglory features dueling guitars a la Judas Priest that complement the agro drumming and the tight bass lines, and it’s all rounded out by French’s Dickinson-meets-Halford vocals. America has something to cheer about. It’s about time we had a band of this caliber rise from the ashes of post grunge and nu-metal. - Ruben Mosqueda:

"VAINGLORY (10/10)"

Sirens, alarmbells, metal alert!!!! People, you've been warned,
because there is a new metal sensation on the horizon. Their name is
VAINGLORY and nobody else but Kate French is the frontlady of this
magical outfit. Their debut album is a first-class killer product
from the first note on until the last one slowly fades away. It's
pure metal to the max. For over sixty-five minutes, you're caught in
a web of heavy riffs, loud screaming vocals, pounding drums,
galloping rhythms and a never ending salvo of guitar solos. The
album also has a lot of variation. First, you get four up tempo
power metal tracks attacking your ears. Then "Midnight Hellfire" is
a hellish motordrivers anthem. "Undying Love" is a more ballad-like
song with lots of power, whereas "Decapitation Attack" is an
instrumental song, which could well be written by YNGWIE MALMSTEEN.
The guitarwork in general has got a lot in common with this Swedish
guitar juggler, by the way. And the axemen Corbin King and John
Michael Youngblood may see this as a big compliment. Corbin can
easily be put in the category new guitarheroes. He can show his
skills in every song, and people who like ultrafast guitarwork will
enjoy this CD even more. The rhythm tandem consists of Chris Banja
on bass and Dan Lynch on drums. Together they form a very tight
team. Kate's voice comes very close to the strength and power of Jon
Oliva (SAVATAGE, JON OLIVA'S PAIN), but she looks so much better
than the mountain king. She lifts VAINGLORY to the highest level
imaginable. Sometimes with high screams, sometimes with a sensitive,
very emotional sounding voice, but always with a lot of power.
CHASTAIN was a very good start for this blonde metalvixen, but
believe me, VAINGLORY is the real thing for her. And people still
think that heavy metal is dead? Give me a break. I guess, they've
never heard of VAINGLORY. Welcome back, Kate! Our metal fists will
rise again for you with this new album.We're behind you for one
hundred percent and reward this album with the full score. Buy or
don't call yourself a metalhead anymore!!! - Toine van Poorten:


"VAINGLORY" 2006/2007
Rebellion Records US (US and Canada)
MTM Music (Europe)



US melodic power metal band VAINGLORY features intense riffs, virtuoso guitar, mighty drumming, heavy pounding bass, powerful vocals and thought provoking lyrics. Line up includes modern guitar master, Corbin King "The King Of Southern Shred", and vocal sensation Kate French, of CHASTAIN fame, this band has all the ingredients in place to be a major force on the metal market for years to come. Kate's ability to mix power, conviction, emotion, and true heavy metal singing is very uncommon in today's "metal" vocalists. Kate is a veteran to heavy metal and has not only pushed beyond the normal bounds of female vocalists, but has delivered her best recorded performance to date on this CD. Along with bassist Chris Banja, drummer basher Dan Lynch, and guitarist John Michael Youngblood VAINGLORY now hits the streets with their powerful metal masterpiece. VAINGLORY will be on the forefront of the metal scene in 2007 and beyond, dominating you with the awe inspiring new CD and incredible live performances to come.