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This is one of the best and most original debut albums that I have ever listened to. The Vision Bleak invent a whole new genre which they call Horror Metal. Well, many bands suppose that they are inventing something new and give weird names to their creations, but they are mostly wrong, but this band really creates something new. Their songs have a very dark, doom, melancholic, mysterious and frightening atmosphere and they are inspired by famous horror books or movies. They even employ some very lyrical and stylish historical old English vocabulary, they present a very mysterious and authentic booklet, and they include bombastic and orchestral parts in their songs but also very dark, heavy and frightening riffs and melodies. The two heads of this band really do everything to create associations to their world of horror. But they are not only paying attention on the concept and mood of the album, but also on the quality of each single song. There are many very addicting songs with perfect vocal lines and catchy melodies. The songs do not only work in the context of the entire album but also as single pieces of art. There is no single filler on the whole album and it is nearly perfect and there is just one thing that makes me rate this great creation just underneath the value of its follow-up “Carpathia”. While the second album tells a conceptual story where a certain degree of development, tension and drama is raising throughout the whole album until its great finale, the atmosphere is not that intense on the first album and there is no direct continuous concept. I would even say that the first songs on the album are the most addicting ones and the last ones the less perfect ones on the whole album which isn’t the case on their follow-up where you can really see a strong development. On the other hand, the songs of this first album work even better live on stage than the songs of their second output. The songs are really heavy and addicting. I would even say that the songs written on this album are the best live songs that the band has ever written to this day. But the studio album has also nothing lost of its charm even after I have been listening to this for several years, it is really a timeless and well elaborated magnum opus.
After the bombastic introduction “A shadow arose”, which gets you in a very eerie mood, “The night of the living dead” starts with a weird keyboard sound and a very tight riff. This song has some interesting breaks and especially Allen B. Konstanz shows already what a great, diversified and emotional singer he is. The chorus is an absolute killer and this short and sweet song is the perfect choice to open an album and introduce us to a world of strange nightmares and the creation of a new genre called Horror Metal. “Wolfmoon” is much darker then and concentrates on a doom or gothic atmosphere with melancholic and mysterious vocals. The chorus is also very addicting and the song grows a lot with the time. “Horror of Antarctica” is a mysterious, dark and atmospheric song with a very simple but addicting chorus. The song has a very doom and calm atmosphere that fits perfectly to the frosty place it is talking about. “The lone night rider” opens with an amazingly simple but extremely addicting introduction melody and has once again a very dark chorus that you can’t get out of your mind.
The other songs on the album are also technically perfect and mostly really intense but those four songs in the beginning and middle of the album are the most catchy and remarkable songs to me.
I recommend this album to all fans of atmospheric metal music or even more simple: I recommend to anyone who listens to music and until now, no friend or parent of mine has lived a bad experience with this album, everybody seems to appreciate its originality and style.
The Vision Bleak are symphonic, doom and gothic but do not forget to stay heavy and have some death and thrash elements in some of their songs. Dramatic orchestrations meet with heavy guitars, dark and clear vocals meet with some harsh shrieks and grunts which are well employed, transcending and floating moods meet with melodic guitar solos and a very tight and straight drumming and this entirely works in a very harmonic and diversified way. The genre “gothic metal” isn’t simply large enough to describe the band. That’s why I think that “Horror Metal” as the band calls this genre itself perfectly fits. And their band’s name “The Vision Bleak” underlines this fact as well as the album title “The death ship has a new captain”. The two captains of the band lead us to new shores and undiscovered territories. They introduce us into a very frightening world of mysterious nightmares and the next album goes even beyond life and death or illusion and reality and shows us a supernatural perfection and drowns us in a very mysterious mood.