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10/10 Avi

VISIT, THE - Through Darkness Into Light - CD - Indie - 2015

The Visit is the Canadian duo of cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne (of Musk Ox, whose latest release we reviewed here) and vocalist Heather Sita Black, and the power and beauty they produce is beyond comprehension.

This duet is enwrapping with its intimacy and its well-articulated musical adventurousness. It is exotic and dark, and yet classical. The duo manages to avoid the clichés of metal and world music by assimilating only the true essence of these influence into the avant garde chamber setting.

Weinroth-Browne playing is storming yet well disciplined. It often carries a heavy metal feel, especially in the heavy, overwhelming setting it conveys; but it is of an equal appeal to modern, classical music aficionados who can appreciate the works of Shostakovich. With just one instrument, Weinroth-Brown weaves an intricate, intense plot.

Heather Sita Black is every bit as attractive as her companion. This is not a trivial compliment coming from us, as we are not ones to admire classical music derived vocals nor do we care much about symphonic female vocals when used in metal (or rock music). But Sita Black is something else. She is a true vocal artist, and she portrays emotions and turmoil even when she sings wordlessly, and she explores the music in an avant garde fashion as well as delivers it with appropriate natural beauty that brings her lyrics - poems of ache, anguish and dissolution as well as of revival - to life. Her presence is exotic, as she occasionally incorporates eastern motifs into her vocalization; as does Weinroth-Browne into his cello playing, in a perfectly befitting manner (listen to "Offering"!).

The closest thing we have heard recently that comes anywhere near the music captured on this album is Empty Days' performance of John Downland's "Flow My Tears" (read here), but The Visit's music is all original and every bit as riveting and thrilling, if not more so; and it lasts throughout the entire album. This is emotive, acoustic music that speaks louder than any distortion can get, and has a cinematic quality that will enthrall you for fifty five minutes.

Holding equal amounts of classicism and avant garde, Through Darkness Into Light is a masterpiece that is both harsh and sublime. (10/10)


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