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The Vision Bleak - The Unknown Award winner

The Vision Bleak
The Unknown
by Sammy M at 25 December 2016, 2:42 PM

First thought that came to mind upon hearing THE VISION BLEAK years ago, was that someone had crossed NICK CAVE with a doom metal band and made him sit down and read the entire works of H.P Lovecraft. It turns out, that at least when it comes to the Lovecraft part, this is what THE VISION BLEAK was going for. The self-described “horror metal” band from Germany blend doom metal and horror punk and set it to themes borrowing from notable horror icons such as the afore  mentioned H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, and more for an extremely gothic and somewhat theatrical feel to their music. “The Unknown” is the sixth studio album from the group, and further improves upon all that they had done before. They have shown over time that they know what they want from their sound, and they will stick to it. So even though “The Unknown” isn’t exactly hugely different from what they’ve done before, it gives us more of what we would expect from THE VISION BLEAK, and does a damn good job of it giving us perhaps their darkest and most atmospheric album to date.

Right from the beginning of the album, they set the atmosphere with “Spirits Of The Dead”. The lyrics for this short introduction are taken directly from the poem “Spirits Of The Dead” (duh), by Edgar Allen Poe, and for anyone who didn’t already know who THE VISION BLEAK were at this point, they’ll certainly get the idea. It’s short but it sets the atmosphere perfectly and leads straight in to “From Wolf To Peacock” which further builds upon the dark and creepy atmosphere albeit at a much faster pace. Despite some thinking that describing yourself as “horror metal” may be a tad pretentious, THE VISION BLEAK prove that this is exactly what they are, in the same way that  AMON AMARTH would be related to Vikings, and ALESTORM to pirates. It may not be a genre in itself just like those other two bands (Viking metal and pirate metal are not a thing.), but because of the subject matter, it can easily be dubbed horror metal rather than fitting in to a genre for the musical style such as gothic or doom metal. If anything, the subject matter just makes them more and more gothic with every outing. Think classic horror rather than modern, and images of blackened eyes, tattered suits, and twisted shadows come to mind. This is the type of horror that would most be related to the gothic culture, and this is what THE VISION BLEAK nails so well.

While there may not really be a particular song that stands out on this album, there isn’t really a weak link either. While this style suffers from a lack of a hook the majority of the time, THE VISION BLEAK proves that this doesn’t really matter, with their music being so good while it’s pouring in to your ears. You may not get it stuck in your head, but you can’t help wanting to go back for more. I had all but forgotten about this band before getting a hold of this album, but now I can’t stop listening to it over and over. There are small subtleties in the music that you notice on repeat plays, adding extra layers to what was already so damn good. The haunting vocals, the dark and dreary guitar, and the creepy lyrics, are ambrosia to a horror fan, and especially one who loves metal. The second the album closed with the haunting “The Fragrancy Of Soil Unearthed”, I hit play again, and again, and again, because as I said, although this may not be the sort of music that gets stuck in your head, it’s just so soothing and great while you’re listening to it that you have to go back for more. It’s a drug. A highly addictive drug.

I’ll admit that THE VISION BLEAK may not be for everyone due to their fairly experimental approach, but I also think that everyone who is a fan of metal or horror should give it a go. I’m also pretty much certain that if you’re reading this review, that you’re a fan of at least one of those things. So do yourself a favour and listen to this album right now. It’s a fantastic trip, with incredible atmosphere and great musicianship that absolutely deserved a try.

Songwriting: 10/10
Originality: 10/10
Memorability: 6/10
Production: 9/10

4 Star Rating

01. Spirits Of The Dead
02. From Wolf To Peacock
03. The Kindred Of The Sunset
04. Into The Unknown
05. Ancient Heart
06. The Whine Of The Cemetery Hound
07. How Deep Lies Tartaros?
08. Who May Oppose Me?
09. The Fragrancy Of Soil Unearthed
Schwadorf – screams, guitar, bass, keys
Konstanz – vocals, drums, keys
Record Label: Prophecy Productions


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