Imagine my surprise when a package from Reuben Storey showed up containing yet another new project’s demo tape. So maybe my surprise was lessened a little by the fact that this is Reuben’s wont. To Reuben Storey, it’s 1991 going on ‘92 and he’s still gotta send his new demo to the guys he knows on the inside. Seriously honored, by the way.
This time around I noticed Reuben was joined on guitar and vocals by his former Funerot bandmate, Daniel Munro. Back in the early 2000s these guys were ripping old school death metal, putting out CDs on Razorback, way before the modern death metal resurgence that’s still going strong today. But from Reuben’s included correspondence I gathered that Vision Master were far from a death metal band. This, apparently, was “Hermetic heavy metal.” The tape’s cover art reinforced the idea, if only by making it more ambiguous. In short, I couldn’t pop this tape in soon enough!
What blasted from my speakers was intense heavy metal that immediately and deeply appealed to the part of my brain that worships Manilla Road, Brocas Helm and The LW Slough Feg. By the third song, I was obsessed. For all its licks, hooks, catchy verses, unforgettable choruses, indescribably sweet riffs—never mind the fact that I was targeted personally and sent this awesome tape for free yet with an unspoken obligation, like some charge from afar—for all its analog splendor and infectious energy, I had to reach out. Not only because it was bestowed upon me free of charge, but . . . Vision Master chose me, I know, because they trust me to deliver these goods with the proper respect and honor due to them.
So you two played together over ten years ago in Funerot. What inspired Vision Master and brought the two of you together again? How’s it feel to be back in a band together again?
Daniel Munro: It feels like putting on that old t-shirt full of holes that your wife tells you to stop wearing to work – awesome. Reuben and I started making music together when we were like 16 years old, so our ears and musical sensibilities developed together, so it’s been really easy & fun so far.
My intention for Vision Master was really set in Fall 2019 when I went to visit Ben Moore-Maley (also of Funerot) in Vancouver, B.C. We polished off a bottle of gin at his practice space, set up some mics and let loose. I did some Judas Priest style riffing and vocals. When I woke up the next day and listened to the recording I was like “this is my destiny…”
Reuben and I started sending recordings of stuff we had done back and forth around that time and shortly after that we decided to collaborate on Vision Master. I had been recording guitar riffs since 2012 on an old tape recorder and my phone so I started sorting through those and putting together songs. The song [“Run to the] Lighthouse[”] is from some riffs I layed down in 2012!
Reuben Storey: Yeah, what’s a decade anyways? It’s great as we share a common lexicon from our formative years, we speak the same musical language. After spending 2020 playing all the instruments in the various “bands” I’ve been doing, it sure is nice to play with someone that actually knows how to play the damn guitar, haha!
What was the journey like as far as putting these songs together. How did Orb come to be? It is called Orb right?
DM: I recorded a 13 song demo with electronic drums and we selected the songs that we knew we could nail and that sounded the sickest & most cohesive. Reuben helped reorganize some of the songs and we recorded them Fall 2020 – Spring 2021.
RS: There’s an orb on the cover, ain’t there? Seems pretty fitting to me!
So this release was recorded in two different places. Was this due to the pandemic? How did the Vision Master debut EP actually come together?
DM: Mostly due to the pandemic. Reuben is also like a 2 hour drive from me, so splitting the recordings allows us to record with more flexibility and save road time.
RS: Yeah, the pandemic and distance. The only time we actually got together was to do the final mix! Pretty wild way to do a band in my experience, but it worked out to be actually really enjoyable. We can work on our own time and we don’t have to coordinate or schedule very much at all. Like taking all the crap that usually sucks about being in a band and flushing it!
The first track tells the tale of a nocturnal metamorphosis into an invertebrate creature of some kind and the themes remain equally as weird and specific from there. What inspired the lyrics across these four songs?
DM: I like to tell stories of strange realms and beings, dark uncertain places, stories of glory and tragedy. I think the best metal has more than just ripping songwriting, but a story that pulls you in, puts you in a certain headspace or makes you feel there is something more to this world than the everyday bs. Bands like Trouble, Slough Feg, Saxon, Venom, Manowar & Candlemass do that for me. The overall inspiration for Vision Master is just my twisted mind and a few receptors in my brain that I like to dust off every now and again.
This comes out today on CD from C.B. Centauri Productions, Reuben’s own label. What makes you guys want to keep this in house?
DM: Calling all labels—drop us a line if you like our neck snapping other-worldly metal.
RS: C.B. Centauri is putting it out to get it out there. There’s nowhere to go but up from here, haha!
What comes next for Vision Master? What about Orb, will there be any other formats? I only ask because I feel privileged to own the tape I do. It makes for a really sick tape too!
DM: We are working on another EP called Sceptre. I’m almost done writing the material which will be faster with more wailing vocals—to the limit! The plan is to release both as a double EP called Orb & Sceptre on vinyl. After Orb & Sceptre we will start work on a full length.
RS: Yeah, cassettes and CDs are available at www.cbcentauri.com and a digital version is available at visionmaster.bandcamp.com
Will Vision Master ever come alive in the living world as a live act?
DM: The goal of Vision Master is to create and release outstanding & unique heavy metal. Don’t get me wrong, I fucking LOVE to play live shows, but it’s not a goal for us right now.