The Vision Bleak – Set Sail to Misery (Prophecy Productions)

Monday, 18th March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Typically, hard-nosed Goth metal is a total non-entity, unless you’re still ranking Moonspell as a Goth metal band. For Germany’s The Vision Bleak,Set Sail To Misery serves as a reminder that you don’t have to be all sulky and dramatic to get your point across. In fact, there are portions of this album that are as heavy as they come, which becomes the predominant theme of this mostly enjoyable, 8-song endeavour.

After pompous opener “A Curse of the Grandest Kind,” The Vision Bleak (which is the two-man duo of Schwadorf and Konstanz) head right into crunchy riff territory with “Descend Into Maelstorm.” “A Romance With the Grave” follows suit, spewing forth the tremolo-happy riff textures that prove to be utterly pounding. As noted above, this isn’t normal standard operating procedure for a band as decidedly Goth as The Vision Bleak and it provides a welcome respite from the keyboard/orchestra debauchery that normally takes place.

From there, the pace is set, allowing for Konstanz’s WAY German vocals (think an English Ramnstein) to have a mostly cold, nihilistic tone to them. At the center of the album is “Mother Nothingness (The Triumph of Ubbo Sathla),” an 8-minute epic, and “The Foul Within,” which carries on with the ominous riffing and general lack of melody, which in actuality, suits the album just fine.

As the alternative to prissy Goth metal, Set Sail To Misery may be a hard sell thanks to the aforementioned lack of melody and fluff. This thing is highly oppressive though; just spewing out big riffs and guitar crunch that should scare the you-know-what out of any eye-liner adorning Goth chick. Or they could make men out of those who are ahem, not so manly.

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