The Vision Bleak - _Set Sail to Mistery_
(Prophecy Productions, 2010)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
Reciting Lord Byron for about four minutes as an album opener may not necessarily be a bad thing, but unfortunately for The Vision Bleak, Solefald used this very text to far better effect many years ago when closing their superlative debut _The Linear Scaffold_. Still, Schwadorf and Konstanz's The Vision Bleak have intermittently proven entertaining in the past, so surely their fourth album should not be immediately discarded on account of this minor incident.

On _Set Sail to Mistery_, The Vision Bleak may seem to have adpoted a somewhat scattershot approach to selecting elements from their previous albums, along with a novelty or two. Whether or not that was the case, the album still avoids feeling disjointed despite its considerable variety. While no less metallic at its core than ever before in the band's discography, there is still a lot of gothic elements (including gothic rock), mixed just as easily with symphonic blackened touches on several occasions as with Lovecraft inspired doom on its longest track.

With operatic male (and occasionally female) vocals prominent among the multitude of vocal approaches used throughout the album, reaching all the way to occasional blackened snarls, _Set Sail to Mistery_ is not what one might call common -- nor was that to be expected. It is, however, a dynamic, well built and confidently performed record, with enough gothic drama to keep you entertained, all enthusiastically delivered with plenty of catchy melodies, grandiose arrangements and metallic punch.


(article published 10/10/2010)

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