The Vision Bleak - _Carpathia_
(Prophecy Productions, 2005)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
Subtitled "A Dramatic Poem", _Carpathia_ is the second album from the duo known as The Vision Bleak. If suspicions of them being Cradle of Filth clones cross your mind upon reading this, they are unfounded; for although The Vision Bleak harvest similar fields of gothic horror for inspiration, the resulting music is vastly different. Yes, both bands rely on heavy keyboard orchestrations for much of the time, but The Vision Bleak opt for an approach that I would describe as gothic death 'n' roll. There, I've said it -- and if you think that's pompous, well, that suits the music too.

The generally mid-paced guitars and drums are ostensibly beefy enough to act as a counterpoint to the intricate symphonic elements, and the overall sound is far from meek when they so desire -- which is actually most of the time. Vocal approaches vary from gothic male vocals and soprano singing to occasional growls, and all styles are performed with aplomb. The music doesn't sound as overly dramatic as the album's subtitle might imply, but it fortunately steers well clear from their rather excessively light-hearted debut _The Deathship Has a New Captain_. This time The Vision Bleak have found a much better balance in seriousness amidst all the theatric elements that _Carpathia_ contains.

Ultimately this is a collection of solid songs, very well produced and performed, with rich and diverse settings. If you prefer the band members to actually believe they are medieval vampires when you listen to an album with a title like _Carpathia_, then you should probably stay away from this one; but if you can enjoy a well realized gothic approach to this subject, then you should definitely give The Vision Bleak a chance.


(article published 20/6/2005)

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