Visions Of The Night – Guerillas Within Their Midst (2013 SPOTLIGHT) – This is the third full-length from one man black/death metal act Visions Of The Night. He’s been making music for quite a while and this record seems to be one of his strongest yet. And somehow this dude managed to go to Japan, hence I’ve got all these promo pics from the show (and nothing makes me all rough and tumble like seeing beautiful Japanese girls clad in metal band tees and raising up the horns. Damn you 2D girls, you’ve ruined me!) At any rate, the drums on the record are performed by Todd Hansen from The Berserker as a sort of one-off gig, but they do manage to work well with Wolfsblood’s guitar licks and vocals. He also manages to add some interesting synths into the mix, as well as some Arabic influence in places where it influences the lyrics. Structurally, it’s a pretty strong album with the meat and potatoes of both death and black metal firmly in place, yet never going fully into either genre. That’s a good thing though, as the band could get rather stale and boring if he just decided to stick to one playing field, though I admit that I would like to hear more style branching in the future – just so long as it still resembles the band. Then there’s the weird riffing of “Written In Blood 5:16” which sounds unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. I don’t know if it’s being played out of tune or what, but it certainly sounds different. I mean, I truly believe that Wolfsblood knows what he’s doing and he manages to do some rather awesome things on this disc – he deserves to experiment and I’d like to hear more of it. In my opinion, if your record doesn’t sound like anyone other than yourself, then you’ve done it right. “Breaching The Somme 1:37” is another one that manages to break the mold a bit, as well as that opening title track (4:23) which brings in the Arabic chanting and such, a great backdrop for a war-themed album. There’s also some more of those weird little riffs in “Utilizing Hate As A Motivational Force 3:28” and I’m also hearing a slight buzz on the track as if produced by electronic means. So really, there’s a lot of shit going on in this album and it’s quite promising. Also, Rob Urbinati of Sacrifice lends his vocals to “War Is Our Religion 3:31” so be sure to check out that one. The lyrics on the disc are supposed to revolve around War and the Occult, but I’m not sure if these guys are for the occult or against it. I’m sure they’re not cool with war though. Is anyone? War sucks, period. I will say that I do like the last track here (Invoking The Martial Gods 3:54) as it also has some of that odd riffing/twiddling or whatever he’s doing on the guitar – but the song in general seems to be about invoking all of the fiercer gods in the spectrum. I’ll also add (looking through the eight-page scan I have here) that I really like the image in the background of “War Is Our Religion” which is essentially the whore of Babylon I believe, with a machine gun in her hand sitting on a three-headed dragon that’s standing atop a mound of skulls, while the symbol of Thelema (as displayed on my altar) sits in the dark sky above. I’m going to Google this and see if I can’t get it on my phone as a wallpaper. Rolling back to the album, Visions Of The Night prove that they’ve got enough musically, lyrically and visually to keep me entertained and I hope that others will check out this unconventional death and black metal oddity out for themselves. It’s definitely worth hearing and I recommend it!
(10 Tracks, 38:00)