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The formula still works - 90%

Lord_Lexy, April 14th, 2009

It seems that some people sometimes make a fuzz about whether a band should or shouldn’t “change its sound, its direction, …” to keep things interesting for the listener. One could agree with that: after four or five CDs with songs in the same genre, style, riffing and use of vocals could get boring. So bands must be sure to change direction every once in a while.

Or they mustn’t. Stick to the formula that works. If I want change in music, I’ll just put on another band’s album. The Vision Bleak seems to have shared my thoughts on this matter, because the haven’t changed much. Even the artwork hasn’t changed: both “The Deathship Has A New Captain” and “Carpathia – A Dramatic Poem” have that peculiar yellow colour of withered paper. And so, “The Wolves Go Hunt Their Prey” has the same theme for the cover. An etching of two wolves ready to jump on an innocent woman set in a paper-yellow picture frame. Trivia: the name of the album comes from a line in the title song of “Carpathia”.

So the artwork is the same, but how beautiful or awesome it may be, it’s about the music we should start talking. So has the music, just as the artwork, remained the same? More or less, but some changes have been made: female vocals have disappeared. The same goes for the keyboards (on “The Deathship Has A New Captain”) and the symphonic elements from “Carpathia” only make an appearance in the introduction to the “Black Pharaoh Trilogy”. But the style hasn’t changed a lot, the band now uses only what sounds they can make themselves: guitars, bass, drums and their own voices. Konstanz still sounds like someone who has seen unspeakable things he shouldn’t have and Schwadorf still riffs as if challenging you to bang your head all the time.

The songs themselves are once again filled with mystery and supernatural horror, which was what attracted me to this band in the first place because I had recently discovered the genre in literature. The “Black Pharaoh Trilogy” is based on the short story by Lovecraft, “The Haunter of the Dark”. They even quoted from it: when I read the story and saw “the three lobbed burning eye”, the song began playing in my head. Which is a good sign.

So, let’s conclude: is this album inventive or does it bring something entirely new? Not really. Is it a good album? Absolutely! Schwadorf and Konstanz stuck to their old formula and succeeded in creating a perfect soundtrack for horror stories. “Carpathia” was slightly better, but that’s due to the symphonic elements incorporated there.