The assessment favorable
dB rating: 8/10
Release Date: June 3rd, 2016
Label: Prophecy Productions
The Vision Bleak are an outfit I’ve been happy to ignore simply due to my grave antipathy for their syntax-challenged moniker. (Here me now, all you ren-faire bootlickers, I abide precisely zero post-nominal mischief within the confines of contemporary English [unless your name’s Yoda].) Regardless of my prejudice, 2013’s The Witching Hour proved too much fun to completely brush off. Though its tracks ring more like novelties than heartfelt compositions, The Witching Hour seethes with great hooks and haunting atmosphere. It’s the sound Tiamat began chasing post Wildhoney and never successfully harnessed. It may be flippant, but it works and it’s incredibly diverting.
Even so, the devastating grace of The Unknown is like a sucker punch landing from just out of frame. Here, the movements are stretched taut till they creak, while that aforementioned sense of novelty is whittled to a bare scrim, just enough to afford the album’s seven proper tracks a faint quality of vibrance. The Sisters of Mercy styled vocal treatments are especially effective in this dolorous but frankly catchy setting. When the inevitable harsh vocals do finally emerge during the album’s crushing centerpiece, “The Whine of the Cemetery Hound,” it’s a little disappointing, as if the Vision Bleak are pandering. No matter, it compromises little of the sheer weight these tracks are shouldering. The Unknown is doom as theater, unashamed of its pretensions. Instead, it cleverly wields them, as if The Dreadful Hours were being unspooled on a eerily lit Broadway stage. Though, as the audience to this performance, one should remember that it’s merely an act, it’s difficult not to become engulfed by the Vision Bleak’s deft dramatization of utter melancholy.
— Forest Pitts
This review taken from the August 2016 issue.