VANISHING SIGNS (feat Steve Lee of Gotthard) – Vanishing Signs (2019)
Pretty silently released last year by themselves, the self-titled debut of VANISHING SIGNS certainly deserve more exposure and promotion, and that’s why we’re here. This international project delivers quality female-fronted melodic hard rock with an ’80s sheen, wrapped by a modern production and one important thing; well written songs.
Founded by former Forsale / Gotthard keyboardist & songwriter Neil Otupacca and featuring superb vocalist Dilana Smith, Nic Angileri (Jorn band), drummer Francesco Jovino (Hardline, JLTurner’s Sunstorm, Jorn) and more, Vanishing Signs rocks, and rocks greatly.
Oh, and they deliver a new version of Forsale’s song ‘Rollin’ On’, using Steve Lee (RIP) original tracked vocals.
Mastermind here is Swiss Neil Otupacca, the first keyboardist of Gotthard (since the time they were called Forsale) who recorded on the band’s exciting debut of “Gotthard” (1991). He’s a Hammond B3 specialist, and has toured / recorded with Helloween, Scorpions, Marillon, Status Quo and many more.
Neil composed most the songs on “Vanishing Signs”, some with the help of Dilana Smith, who was the runner-up on Rock Star: Supernova and has released a few albums of her own, more rock&pop oriented. Her vocals are power / colorful with a melodic touch perfectly fitting the material on offer.
The first thing I noticed on the opening track, “The Right Time”, was the heavy Hammond B3 organ sound followed by this powerful voice that reminded me of Sass Jordan. Musically, this is female-fronted Melodic Hard / Classic Rock, and of course, rich in keyboard swirls.
“Tripping The Light” is next and has a little more progressive hard rock feel to it. Dilana sound great here as well. While the organ and synths are still present, there’s enough guitar to carry the song.
A cover of “House Of The Rising Sun” is next, and although the last thing the world needs is another cover of this classic, I really like this version. The arrangement is interesting and we get a cool bass solo among other strong instrumental moments. Again, Dilana sounds at home here. She has a great rasp to her voice and sings with emotion. She’s clearly the star here.
Belgian vocalist Maggy Luyten (Ayreon, Beautiful Sin) guests on a couple of tracks (‘No Regrets’ and ‘Too Far From Never’) and does a very nice mix / duet with Dilana.
A song written by a Hammond B3 player titled “Heavy Hammond” shouldn’t surprise eh? Well, this is a killer hard rocker featuring the lead male vocals Marcelo Vieira, of course, keyboard-driven and recalling Rainbow / Deep Purple glory days.
Otupacca was a partner with Steve Lee in pre-Gotthard band Forsale, and now the keyboardist has slighly re-arranged / re-recorded the Forsale song ‘Rollin’ On’ using the original multitrack vocals done by the late, and great, Steve Lee. Love it.
But htis is a female fronted melodic hard album and the title track, “Vanishing Signs”, entirely written by Dilana Smith is an album highlight. Dilana sound more melodic than ever here, deep, emotional. Clearly she can sing anything. This is one of the best female-fronted MHR songs I heard in long time.
“That Ship Has Sailed” starts with just vocals and has a 80s Kansas type of feel. There’s a more progressive rock touch in the verse with a more straight ahead chorus. Another good song.
There are a lot of bands that makes classic hard rock, but few of them know how to write songs, and few of them actually rock.
Vanishing Signs does both, with the glorious sound of a roaring Hammond organ, songs that drive the nail in, and a truly exceptional female voice. I adore hearing Dilana sing anything, but I didn’t realize until listening to the album that I was missing hearing her belt out big, loud rock from time to time.
01. The Right Time
02. Tripping the Light
03. House of the Rising Sun
04. No Regrets (feat. Maggy Luyten)
05. Heavy Hammond
06. Vanishing Signs
07. That Ship Has Sailed
08. Rollin’ On (feat Steve Lee)
09. Too Far from Never (feat. Maggy Luyten)
Dilana Smith – Vocals
Neil Otupacca – Keyboards, Hammond B3
Nic Angileri (Jorn band) – Bass
Pino Sicari – Guitars
Steve Lee (Forsale, Gotthard) – Vocals on 8
Marcelo Vieira – Vocals on 5
Maggy Luyten (Ayreon) – Vocals on 4, 9
Francesco Jovino (Hardline, Sunstorm, Jorn) – Drums
Mark Cross (Lenny Wolf’s Kingdom Come) – Drums
thanks to Chris C / bloody-good-music