Realms of Vision are relatively new to the scene, having only formed in California’s notorious Bay Area in 2015. The members, however, have found no issue in finding their footing, fast and pummelling audiences with their old-school grunge/groove metal sound. With Frank Costa and Corey Largent bringing the slow and heavy riffs and darkly melodic vocals, Brandon McCubbin holding down deep and distorted basslines and Mike Ambrose bringing complex structure and timing to each song on drums, this band are no strangers to making excellent music. Frank Costa has previously played for Californian death metal band Animosity and the supergroup Entheos before finding his home with Realms of Vision, while Mike Ambrose has the experience of drumming for San Francisco’s Set your Goals and Misser.
Coming out on the 30th of March through Creator-Destructor Records, Realms of Vision’s first full-length album entitled ‘Through All Unknown’ will be a corrosive eight-track concoction of refreshingly clean vocals, deep and dirty basslines, unreservedly charismatic drumming, and riffs as black and sludgy as tar. Realms of Vision well and truly proved their musical prowess to the world with their short but sweet 2016 EP release, Unrevenged’. This EP featured four songs with highlights like Black Spiral and The Teacher, showcasing their unique synchronicity of low-tuned riffs and blistering solos. ‘Through All Unknown’ has brought their original blend of slow-burning ferocity to a new level. Focusing lyrically on the darker ideas of life and reality, their music reflects the tone synonymously while still maintaining a fierce demeanour through Frank Costa’s face melting talents on guitar.
Starting the album off with a short but suspense-building acoustic intro, the scene and tone for the rest of the album are clearly set in just 20 seconds: dark, brooding and intense. This is quickly forgotten as we are thrown into the next song.
State of Silence begins with a sprawling riff that slides around the low-end frets of the guitar, highlighted with moments of musical dalliance reflected by rapid hammer-ons and pinch harmonics. The first and second verse has melodic vocals with a cadence that flows perfectly over the deep riffs and drums brimming with intricacy. The brief solo between verses is fast and intense, showing a flash of perfect technicality amongst the crushing soundscape. It then melds into an extended musical hook and a surprisingly more laid-back solo that merged seamlessly into simple melodic guitar harmonies to introduce the more uplifting vocals in the last verse. Towards the end, this song takes a more punk/grunge shape but finishes strong.
Track 3 opens with a low and driving intro riff, accented with harmonious picking. Urgent vocals perfect the entire first verse before giving way to a groovy chorus for Deception Mask. The vocals in Deception Mask almost remind me of Matt Heafy‘s (Trivium) clean vocals, instead given a different kind of energy with the prevalent chugging of guitars in this song. The guitar solo boasts beautiful melodic structure, contrasted with relentless shredding.
Two Wolves takes a slower approach in the intro riff, still carrying a ponderous energy and solid drums. This is a song that would be a pleasure to see live, with a heavily melodic beat that gets heads nodding. The guitar solo is once again a fierce reminder of Realms of Vision’s insanely technical abilities.
The title track, Through All Unknown, begins with dissonant picking on guitar before breaking into a full-bodied riff backed by skilful and attention-catching drum patterns. The lyrics focus on the progression of self and finding the power to evolve past old beliefs in yourself and the people around you, a stark reflection of what is missing in the majority of humanity in recent times. The hook in this song is well appreciated as the verses were nearing monotony. The dual guitar solo is a fantastic standout, really reinforcing the crushing heaviness of their incredible sound.
Communion at Dusk is a gorgeous instrumental that has a refreshing acoustic start, backed by tribal-esque, tom-heavy drumming from Mike Ambrose. The intro slowly builds into a relaxed and delicate guitar solo that is stunning in its melodic progression into a soaring and uplifting crescendo. Once again the music softens and takes on a reflective quality, bringing the song to a gentle close.
Mike Ambrose has found his time to shine in this song with a wild tom filled intro to Boundless. The riff that kicks in is one that is basic, grungy, and absolutely capable of opening up a quality mosh pit. The energy dissipates slightly as the song progresses into the first chorus but Mike’s drumming really upholds the intensity while Frank’s vocals weave a grunge-heavy melody over the song.
The final track on the album, Isolation’s Crown opens with a technical and groove-filled riff that builds intensity and suspense, with both guitarists allowing feedback to build between riffs and behind Frank’s vocals, giving this song a dark and progressive feeling. The guitar solo skilfully incorporates the pattern of the backing riff before leading back into the chorus a final time. Over too soon, with the fade-out of Isolation’s Crown comes the end of the album.
While I feel as though the album could have finished on a far stronger song musically, ‘Through All Unknown’ is a truly triumphant effort from Realms of Vision. With this album, the band has clearly enjoyed exploring and expanding on everything that they showcased with their EP, Unrevenged, and I am excited to see what the future holds for this group of talented musicians.