The Visit – Through Darkness Into Light (2015)

Author: Gay For Gary Oldman

Artist: The Visit

Album: Through Darkness Into Light

Label: Independent

 

Raphael Weinroth-Browne, perhaps best known for his neofolk/dark folk project Musk Ox with Nathanaël Larochette (acoustic guitar guest for Agalloch), teams up with extraordinary vocalist Heather Sita Black for a record which is as sombre as it is energetic. As virtuosso as it is restrained. As atmospheric as it is punctuating. It’s one cello and a voice. This is not metal, but fans of metallic-minded neofolk and neoclassical in the vein of Vali, Musk Ox, Neun Welten, Rodriguo Y Gabriela and the Primordial-led Season of Mist neofolk compilation (One and All, Together, For Home) may be interested.

Immediate thoughts would shift to Apocalyptica, but I assure you the music shares no common entities beyond the use of the instrument. Apocalyptica has shifted from covering existing metal songs instrumentally to writing their own songs in the form of alternative rock. Shift the cellos out for guitars and you have little out of the ordinary. The same cannot be said for The Visit.

Integral to the very form of the music is the instrument, which even alone is used in ways that no single instrument could hope to mimic. Simply see the embedded track for the ways in which Weinrith-Browne provides rhythm, lead and atmopsheric background concurrently. Impressive work for only four strings and a bow.

Black is the perfect complementary to her companion, who can master both lyrical chanting in either deep, seductive tones or higher cries, as well as providing wordless wails and vocal flourishes, reminding me of Nordic folk music akin to Eivør Pálsdóttir or Kirsten Braten Berg.

The technicality of the cellist is astounding, but never allowing himself to be above a simple minimalist set of notes to set the tone of a piece. The music achieves emotionally evoking moments without ever feeling contrived or pretentious.

At times, the lack of a dedicated rhythm section is noticable. Weinroth-Browne does an admirable job of providing all the structure neccesary, but at times it is inevitable that the music feels meandering without direction, as virtuosso moments tend to do. This is never a deal-breaker, however, as the music is composed well enough to bring all the elements back to earth without ever feeling out of place.

Curiosities like this are difficult to rate without much to compare it to. But for my own tastes, I enjoyed every moment of this record. It was diverse, technical, melancholic and apocalyptic in equal measure, and there were only a few moments I felt impatient. And I would blame myself for that before I blame this record.

9/10

  • Gay for Gary Oldman

Check ’em out at: https://thevisit1.bandcamp.com/album/through-darkness-into-light

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