Progressive metallers from Copenhagen, The Vision Ablaze will remember 2015 for the release of their debut full-length “Youtopia” via Mighty Music. About the band’s beginnings, the album, and future plans, I talked with the band.
Where and how did The Vision Ablaze take its form?
The Vision Ablaze sprang from a black metal project – believe it or not! We had begun to write more melodic and progressive elements into the black metal, and simply ended up not fiting in with that scene. We wanted to do more of that – good melodies, clean singing, solos and progressive elements. So we changed it up and began building what became The Vision Ablaze a few years later. This was in Copenhagen somewhere around 2010 or 2011.
Let’s talk a little about your album Youtopia. How would you describe your music?
There are 10 songs on our debut album. They range from slow, clean and very melodic to gritty death-metal. Our music is not necessarily true to any particular genre, but contains several subgenres – what identifies our music is great melodies. You can expect a strong chorus and emotions ranging from anger to extreme melancholy. In more standard terms we’re most akin to melodic metal (or melo-death) with metalcore and progressive elements.
Youtopia is our debut album – but we recorded two EP’s before that. The development is towards a heavier sound and feel. The time span is obvious from the technical aspect – we use more intricate structures and leads and the vocals are stronger and contains greater depth. In comparison to our previous works – Youtopia stands out as a great end result of years of work; it defines a sound and a way of writing music that we’re very satisfied with. There are many details on the album, that will keep a keen listener exploring the music on Youtopia – and we like to have both a very straight-forward soundscape, with an underlying finesse that adds richness to the songs.
And are you satisfied with where Youtopia landed?
We’re very pleased with the album. Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Aborted, Pretty Maids etc) has made it sound both extremely heavy and fragile too – a perfect balance of clean passages that conveys deep emotion and a wall of metal guitars and drums that sounds brutal as fuck… We wrote 15 songs for the album and picked the best ones to record. We recorded them at home before entering the studio so we could go through all the songs and change what we felt was necessary to make the songs great. We definitely feel we succeeded. It’s been receiving great reviews, so it appears our fans and the critics are really stoked about it too.
What are the themes you explore in your lyrics?
The main theme on Youtopia is a critique of power and authority. But also about a population that takes so much at face value, ensuring they’ll stay trampled beneath suffocating religion, politics and power structures. It’s about allowing illusions to remain truth and about trying to dismantle the fears that keep us from reaching a better state of being. The cover is a symbol of that – that we’re taught to choose blindly with dire consequences.
We’ve got two lyrics videos out, and motion video too. The lyric videos vary greatly in their design, but tie in very well with our themes. Subversion shows clips from human history – both horrendous and sweet. The video actually features the first ever recorded kiss on footage – simply to contrast the evil of dictatorship and manipulating authorities. Peter made the lyric video and it reflects well on his view on the world.
Fear is a live action lyric video – we recorded it in one take with a cell phone camera in some buildings that were marked for demolition. It’s an homage to old horror movies and this gripping fear that cripples us. It actually features Christian sitting at a poker-table facing a dead man’s hand and Lars is hidden beneath the plastic wraps about 1/3 into the video. It also features Peters girlfriend, so we packed it with small Easter eggs which we’re obviously now spoiling…
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
There are several cool bands we can relate too – but our inspiration is more in broader terms: the world and our own emotions. We think a lot of metal is really about refusing to accept everything at face value and about conveying an abundance of emotion. It’s like poetry that isn’t afraid to be hard and abrasive.
Is there any band that has a real huge impact on The Vision Ablaze’s music?
There are several bands that mean a lot to us in The Vision Ablaze – but if we were to point out one band that has had a huge impact – it would be Killswitch Engage. Great songs with strong melodies and they’ve never been afraid to just be happy about playing metal – in a live setting KsE are all smiles and, it seems, gratitude. We care a lot about musicians that love what they do – that pour their heart and soul into their songs and relish being on stage. And KsE is a great example of a band who writes music that is both inviting, very heavy, intricate and simple at the same time – and a great mix of clean singing and screaming.
Where do you see yourselves in the future?
On the road! That’s the short answer. We’re working hard to promote this album – and we want to meet new people and play shows. We’re based in Copenhagen, Denmark. It’s a small country and we want to be part of the world. We’re working on a small tour of Denmark and later in 2016 a European tour. In late 2016 or early 2017 we’ll write our follow up and continue to work to play and share our music with as many people as we can!