Review: Visions from Beyond — Drawing Down the Darkness

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Death-doom is at its best when it’s not afraid to live up to both halves of its name and claim the mournful melodies of doom. One of those boldest of bands who fears not to venture beyond the 5th fret is the UK’s Visions from Beyond. Their EP Drawing Down the Darkness follows up their previous EP from just this January, the delightfully named Eternally Bound, Whipped by Time, upon which D-ing D the D is, remarkably, a bit of an improvement.

D-d for your bunghole.

I was initially put off by Drawing Down the Darkness’s raw production, but once I let the groove initiate me into the mysteries, I found myself wading and squinting through a world of fog and grime, attending an occult swampside burial. It works for the music overall, and lends a distinct character to some weird moments. There’s a solo about halfway through the titular track (mmhehehhehheh) that’s less of a classic weedly-wee badass solo and more of a frantic, unhinged, black scribbling obscured under a maelstrom and percussion and vocal hiss. Something like that solo section is repeated at the end of the track as a fadeout, and the opening track has a similar frantic fadeout. As with the production, my initial reaction was negative—fadeouts are often a crutch. But I came to see them as working together with the production to create this foggy, okkvlt atmosphere, distinctive for death/doom. Rather than coming to a neatly-bound conclusion, these visions retain their peak levels of chaos, all the while shrinking and fading to a point just outside your perception—was it real? Could you have possibly witnessed such a thing?

The murkiest presence in this mire is the low, extremely diffuse vocals. Do they command the songs? Do they issue from within them? In any case, their subtle menace is perfectly suited to the EP. New riffs slip in under old ones so that once they become the focus, you’re not sure if they were always there or not. Horror samples, buzzing flies, or a period of silence preface the tracks to build suspense. 

Headbang along to the opening track here, if you dare. See the way the ending races off to a horrible conclusion you can’t quite perceive.

The band—possibly a solo project—bills itself as FFO: Mortiferum and Spectral Voice, but its horror vibe and sense of downtempo, doomy melodicism remind me more of Hooded Menace. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it’s a spooky good time. There’s just enough going on, nothing overstays its welcome, and once you acclimate to the production, it’s a smart package of death-doom for spooky time any time of year. Drawing Down the Darkness is available for pre-order on BandCamp and releases alongside a tighty whitey longsleeve on November 1 on Dry Cough Records.

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