If you're a fan of acts like Neurosis, Pelican and a slew of other post metal acts, then you're going to want to give this one a spin immediately. If you don't remember my reviews of this French acts previous EP's (though I'm not sure if I covered all of them) then you know that I've been waiting quite a while for this debut album. The guys finally decided that it was time to put everything they had together for a full-length, even though we know full well that they aren't afraid to make a forty minute disc and call it an EP. The band, which features two drummers, is still wholly instrumental as they should be. I think they're doing an excellent enough job with these dark and sludgy atmospheres and the hard-hitting bass riffs will speak louder here than any vocal approaches ever could. That being said, I can't literally tell you how much I agree with the Pelican comparisons, as this is the kind of record that sounds almost just like Australasia and that makes me smile with glee. I actually used Australasia quite a bit as vocal practice, which definitely helped my chops and showed me where vocals can go on these types of records. Once again, not that they need it. Nor would I say to buy this kind of disc so that you can practice vocals to it – even though yes, instrumental music approaches do help very much for that sort of thing. But let's not take this too far out of context, because I'm not heading down that road with Blackened Visions. What I really mean to say here, is that like Australasia; you'll find the disc to be just as crunchy as it is melodic, just not in the pretty kind of way. Instead, the melodies here seem to allow for a larger flow, which keeps the record far beyond that of just simple doom and sludge, which we can all map out. There's even a few lighter sections in “Salvation” and closer “Mah Song (Horses Of God)” which allow for slight breaks and even slight psychedelics in the formula (unfortunately, where most of these really begin to take off is where the album ends.) Said closer also contains the album's only solo, but it is ever so awesome. This is actually a guest solo from Agressor (formely Loudblast) axeman Colin Tocquaine.
For the most part, you're getting hefty sludge and doom with a level of theatrics that is just intriguing enough to keep you entertained. They don't go into black metal, or death metal or anything other than what you see described before you – but we didn't ask them to either. These guys got together to play the kind of music that they wanted to make and after finally releasing this debut we can see that they're still just as good at it as when they started. Blackened Visions is not without it's little experiments, which keep our ears glued and ready for the next section to come into play. I don't really think of it as a series of songs so much as one large piece that exercises several different layers within it. It's like a dark and musty old cake with a lot of sludge in the middle and maybe some sugar in the melody section. At times the album can even be a bit haunting, even ominous as “Dra Till Helvete” displays right before an unexpected face-pounding. Dark, ominous, experimental and likely to cause earthquakes, Blackened Visions is truly top notch. These guys are definitely doing a better job with this style than their worn out peers, who've done very little to impress me in recent years. Yes, The Lumberjack Feedback are the ones to beat this year, so to all of the other instrumental sludge, post doom experiments out there, I say to you – bring it.
(8 Tracks, 44:00)