I have to admit that until now The Vision Bleak had appeared to me as a nice unfinished business, in the sense that a project with enormous potential, shown to a great extent in the first two records, had rather fallen flat in the last two works highlighting a certain compositional static. Undoubtedly, the German duo formed by Schwadorf (former soul of the magnificent Empyrium) and Konstanz, remained equally a span above the vast majority of bands engaged in the same field, if only for the conception of a trademark capable of making The Vision Bleak recognizable to the listener after a few notes. The horror gothic of the magnificent debut The Deathship Has A New Captain had over time evolved into a decidedly less charming and more amped-up form, maintaining as mentioned a remarkable level but losing much of its initial appeal. Witching Hour puts the Bavarian couple back in their rightful place, and this is done not , contrary to what one might think, by going back to the sounds of the debut but rather through a gothic doom robust but decidedly more essential and above all, full of successful episodes capable of leaving a mark. A Witch Is Born immediately shows what the intentions of ours are on this occasion: the track unfolds with its catchy but decisive rhythm, cloaked by that evil aura that is another of the aspects that had been lost in the recent past; the following The Blocksberg Rite fascinates with its flute capable of transporting us in the mysterious atmosphere of a mountain that in Germany has always been considered the ideal place for the performance of esoteric rites. Cannibal Witch pushes more on the doom side, with a hard-to-forget refrain and an overall atmosphere as dark and murky as the themes it deals with deserve, while The Wood Hag presents a smoother progression, while maintaining the peculiar characteristics of The Vision Bleak sound. In Hexenmeister, Schwadorf and Konstanz push on the accelerator in an unusual way, achieving a spectacular result, in line with the best examples of the past on the subject of heavy metal with magic horror traits, and, all in all, Pesta Approcheas also starts in a similar way and then plays the sound of fluttering flies (better not to know about what…) and finally launches into an overwhelming ride. The Call Of The Banshee is a bonus track, featured in the digipack version, that shows the band’s more reflective side, and the same can be said with the evocative closing entrusted to The Valkyrie, where the keyboard paints solemn and melodically flawless atmospheres. The Vision Bleak‘s fifth full length thus proves to be one of the most convincing of their already satisfying career, thanks to the recovery of more aggressive sounds that are certainly part of the background of the two musicians but that, in their previous works, had been abandoned in favor of more magniloquent and undoubtedly less effective atmospheres. I would not exclude that, in this regard, the interlude dedicated to the comeback of Empyrium, culminating with the first live performance in their history, had its weight in pushing the two musicians to explore the more aggressive side of The Vision Bleak, almost as if they wanted to contrast themselves with the acoustic condition to which, somehow, they had been “forced” at that juncture. Beautiful work for a band rediscovered at 100% of its potential.

2013 – Prophecy Productions