Though I don’t think unexpected is the right word, I will say that when the provenance for a stoner metal record is that the band was formed by a guitarist from a long-defunct 00’s deathcore band I’m immediately suspicious on a basal level. When a musician suddenly changes shape in lieu of sticking to/forging their own style across a long span of time it only speaks to a less serious fringe of artistry that I rarely warm up to. Who am I to be so serious, though? Right, well anyhow Realms of Vision is exactly that, a stoner/doom metal project helmed by Frank Costa who is best known as a guitarist for deathcore darlings Animosity. The world that tech-deathcore spawned is still represented by Costa‘s post Animosity side-gig in Entheos but he’s dropped chuggy djent-groove/fiddle-core in favor of stoner metal as of 2015.
It sorta invokes this image of a meth head switching to weed just in terms of sub-genre jumps to be making but Realms of Vision created a largely successful Sabbath-swerve on their debut EP ‘Unrevenged’. Not only did it feature some of the worst album artwork of the decade, but it was also largely performed by Acosta himself, with the exception of Mark Ambrose (Set Your Goals) on drums. Yep, a death-core guitarist and a melodic hardcore drummer making stoner/doom with Ozzy-ish vocal inflection. It worked, though, and a lot of the loud-jammed groove of that EP has transferred to their debut full-length ‘Through All Unknown’. The main difference is they’ve added a fairly standard vocalist with wider range who can better achieve their melodic/alternative rock influences.
‘Through All Unknown’ might tout influences from 90’s alternative rock and classic doom metal but their actual sound isn’t too far from standard stoner rock fare with big, meaty High on Fire influenced guitar compositions. The big, brawny guitar tone has too much weight put on it’s shoulders, though, as the lack of layered lead guitars outside of bland rock solos ends up leaving a blunt impression on repeat listens. It isn’t such an issue on the first half of the record but by the lack of variation past the title track feels uninspired despite how hard “Isolation’s Crown” stunts to try and salvage things. Hey, but it’s not all doom and gloom. “State of Silence” is inspired with it’s vocal melodies and it contributes to a Corrosion of Conformity style groove felt on “Deception” as well.
Realms of Vision‘s debut is by no means a bad record within the overstuffed world of stoner/doom metal yet it does very little to stand out in terms of performance or songwriting. Dropping a couple of huge riffs is definitely enough for an EP but on a 40 minute full-length I felt like leaving the rhythm guitars to carry everything made for a rote experience. With more confidence behind the vocal melodies and some bold strides on the lead guitar layers the project may still grow bigger wings. I mean if you like Alice in Chains fuckin’ go all the way there. But hey, for a soul-searching debut ‘Through All Unknown’ is generally up to par, if not just a little bit too stoned to come across as inspired. If you’re itching for tracks to preview start with “State of Silence” / “Deception” and jump to “Through All Unknown”.
|Released||March 30, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp!||Follow Realms of Vision on Facebook|
Scanning the overgrowth. 2.5/5.0
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