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Black Vice - The Alchemist's Vision

Black Vice
The Alchemist's Vision
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 16 April 2020, 4:23 AM

In the first half of the 90’s, during the outbreak of Black Metal in Europe, the genre had many echoes on USA Metal scene. Names as ABSU and BLOODSTORM arose from the underground depths playing the genre. But North American Black Metal had two main differences: the commercial praise of the genre on USA wasn’t the same as it was on Europe, and the famous names of the scene were mixing 80’s Black/Death Metal with Black Metal (except for CEREMONIAL CASTINGS, that played a sinister and darkened form of Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal). But the Texan quintet BLACK VICE seems to be doing things in a different way, as can be heard on “The Alchemist’s Vision”, their latest album.

The quintet prefer a more traditional approach on their music, something that show traces of earlier SWOBM releases, that same crude, nasty and simplistic approach, but this a way that can sound moldy and outdated for many, but always can breed good music in the right hands. And on BLACK VICE’s darkened hands, the music gains life, sounding darkened, aggressive, but with some clean somber parts (as can be heard on “Emergence”) and melodic parts in the middle of pile-driving rhythms. Yes, that’s a good release, indeed.

The sound quality of “The Alchemist’s Vision” is what could be expected from a Black Metal album based on the beginning of the SWOBM: a crude sonority using an organic and filthy approach. But the interesting feature of it is that Bradley Tiffin (mixing) and Jack Control (mastering) worked in a way that could preserve the nasty sound of the past with a modern outfit that gives the listeners the right idea of what is being played (besides the drums are louder than the right point). And this sonority fits on what the band musically plays.

The album bears seven darkened songs, but the freezing and sharp guitar riffs of “Ontogenesis”, the pile-driving rhythms of “Vision” (that show some changes, what means that bass guitar and drums are doing a good work), the harsh ambience of the morbid “Attainment”, and the bitter slow parts of “Salvation” (what make the good nasty vocals sound in great shape) are the album’s finest moments.

“The Alchemist’s Vision” grants the listener a true experience of what SWOBM was about, and BLACK VICE comes to storm the hearts and minds of those who miss the old days of the past.

Musicianship: 8
Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 6

4 Star Rating

1. Ontogenesis
2. Emergence
3. Vision
4. Creation
5. Attainment
6. Salvation
7. Erasure
Vultuur - Vocals
ThothAmon - Guitars
Theia Mania - Guitars
Anzû - Bass
Ravnblod - Drums
Record Label: Crown and Thorn Ltd


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