The Vision Ablaze

Youtopia

Written by: PP on 27/09/2015 00:31:42

Copenhagen-based Danish metallers The Vision Ablaze showcased good promise on their EPs "Reach For The Stars" and "Nova" a few years back, but the development the band have undertaken since then is nothing short of incredible. Their debut album "Youtopia" is a candidate for the best metal album in Denmark this year, and creates a convincing case that Raunchy may just have a challenger in sight for their reign as the modern metal champions of the country. Essentially, The Vision Ablaze embrace a similar modern metal culture flush with melody as Sonic Syndicate, Mnemic and Mercenary do in their respective soundscapes, but with an additional touch of early 2000s metalcore in the process. Think Killswitch Engage etc.

It's therefore decisively Danish Metal™ in that sense because it's difficult to classify or pigeonhole into just one genre, but fortunately avoids the anonymous style so many others have stumbled on in the past. Instead, the band open convincingly with "A Jaded Miracle", immediately making it known to the listener that this is going to be a melody-driven metal album. But once we get to "Absent", there's only one word appropriate to describe the track: amazing. The interaction dynamic between the cleans and the aggressively delivered growls is superior, and the instrumentals create an intricate, yet massively melodic landscape when they aren't busy in dynamic riffage and pummeling percussion. The chorus is something else: an uplifting, elevating clean-vocal driven passage that should make even Raunchy's faces green with envy given how instantly catchy and memorable the whole ordeal is. Majestically catchy is probably the right way to describe it, and easily the best track of its kind this year in the country so far that alone should be enough to land a Copenhell slot next year.

Later, "Fall From Grace" provides another brilliant moment where metalcore-esque riffs and standard fare screaming (which, I might add, is the weakest link on the album) lead into yet another unforgettable explosion of clean vocal melody over a heavy-hitting instrumental landscape during the chorus. This level of songwriting is seldom seen in Danish metal, to say it has international potential isn't far off.

"Fear" toys with straight up pop metal at the start of the track but quickly counters with punishing metallic riffage and screaming right after. Here, too, the chorus doesn't disappoint. "Into My Brain" features more Raunchy worship, but when it's this well done does it really matter? "Monster" leans on progressive metal and is over 7 minutes long, which breaks up the album's pace somewhat, but fortunately "Subversion" afterwards provides yet another highlight on the record.

Few things to note about "Youtopia" in general. One, if you're adverse to clean vocals in your metal, the album is probably not for you. Then again, neither is Raunchy nor Mercenary nor any of the other bands mentioned in this review. Two, the screams are fairly monotonous and sound like they're a little difficult to pull off, echoing As We Fight in this sense. But given their use as a contrasting element to the brilliant clean melodies, I'm willing to overlook this shortcoming for the time being. One thing's for sure: there are enough great melodies on "Youtopia" to push The Vision Ablaze to the forefront of modern metal bands in Denmark. They should be expecting much bigger crowds at their performances as word begins to spread. A new Danish metal star has been born.

8

Download: Absent, Fall From Grace, Subversion,
For the fans of: Raunchy, Killswitch Engage, Sonic Syndicate, Mnemic, Mercenary, Diamond Drive
Listen: Facebook

Release date 25.09.2015
Mighty Music

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