The Alchemist’s Vision, the crushing new black metal album from the Texas group Black Vice, feels like it’s packing the roar of some backwoods beast that, for whatever reason, is lurching, staggering, and eventually running straight for the listener with a threatening gleam in its eye. The band kick off their eventually furiously frenzied performances with a creeping, slower, skulking progression, but they soon devolve into more confrontational, manic attacks, all of which feels united by the roar that feels like it’s ringing out in the frantically forward propulsive guitar-riffing and drum blasts.
Overall, there’s a kind of hardcore beastliness in the album’s tones, supported by the heavy roar that often appears in the vocals. The sound’s foreboding thickness makes the drive of The Alchemist’s Vision feel really personal, like the menacing force driving the album has some kind of personal bone to pick with those unlucky enough to stand in the way.
The band frequently return to a kind of bog-like build of mid-tempo staggers that have the menace of a swung machete. Track one, called “Ontogenesis,” begins with one of those slower, more menacing tempos before gradually intensifying. On the following track, “Emergence,” the music kicks off on a quite faster note, and the streaking riffing that accompanies the blast beat attacks feels quite nicely placed in order to amplify the dramatic burn. As the drama and dynamics swing throughout the album, the metaphorical quicksand grows and grows, as if it’s getting closer to the neck. Swinging tremolo picked riffs on “Vision” feel like they’re tearing the ground out from under any sense of stability, and it’s all tumbling down to the earth in a strangely ordered, forward progressing sense, like it’s what must be done. Consistently moderately paced brutal riffing amidst the fury keeps the gut punching mix lurching forward.
While listening, there’s a sense of pondering some kind of very real destruction. Rather than scraping the heavens or something of the sort, this music feels grounded in earthly tones and concerns – muck and all. Progressing through the album feels a bit like sinking in and through some ominously cloudy backwoods bog of mess. Down into the seeping mass of quicksand we go, one might as well proclaim.
Check out the album! It’s available via Crown and Throne Ltd.