One of the most distinguished and innovative bands ever to explore the realm of “horror metal,” Germany’s The Vision Bleak were formed in 2000 and to date have released five full-length studio CDs, the latest of which is titled The Witching Hour. The band consists of two members: Ulf Theodor Schwadorf (guitar, bass, and keyboards) and Allen B. Konstanz (vocals, drums, and keyboards). The band’s primary theme of exploration is all facets of horror, from traditional folklore and myth to contemporary horror fiction and movies. Take Five had the distinct honor to speak with The Vision Bleak, and the results are recorded below.
Please introduce your band and describe your musical approach.
TVB: “We are The Vision Bleak from Germany. We have released five albums up until now and like to refer to our style as ‘Horror Metal’ – read: there’s tons of energy and atmosphere in our music and we draw inspiration from horror literature/movies and the sagas and legends of the dark from our Middle European home.”
Tell me about your latest CD, Witching Hour. What can fans expect to hear?
TVB: “What you will hear is heavy riffs, catchy melodies, pounding drums, dark atmospheres. It’s full of energy and full of atmosphere at the same time. Our goal is to entertain and to ‘paint pictures’ in front of your mind’s eye.”
Would you consider Witching Hour a concept album or more of a theme album? Explain.
TVB: “All the lyrics on Witching Hour deal with witches. Classic fairytales, sagas, myths, and legends about the witch—so yes, it is definitely a concept album starting with the Macbeth-inspired ‘A Witch Is Born’ and ending with ‘The Valkyrie,’ the death angels from Norse mythology.”
Tell me about the song “The Wood Hag.” What inspired the lyrics and how did you go about translating them from your brain and onto paper?
TVB: “‘The Wood Hag’ is inspired by the classic German ‘Hänsel und Gretel’ theme. Two young kids getting astrayed in the forest and are finally lured by an old evil witch into her hut to finally eat the two kids. It’s a tale that is very common in Germany, and kids in kindergarten will learn about it already. Though it is so common, I can hardly imagine anything more gruesome than an old crone in the woods that loves to eat kids . . . so, a perfect theme for us. . . .”
How would you say your latest release, Witching Hour, demonstrates the evolution of The Vision Bleak since your original The Deathship Has a New Captain? Given this evolution, how do you see the band, say, 10 years from now?
TVB: “I think we altered our style slightly on all albums we did but always the core of our sound stayed intact. I think Witching Hour is a natural evolution and pretty much has elements from all albums we did. It has the rockish, catchy vibe of our debut (The Deathship has a New Captain); the epic qualities of Carpathia; the thrashy, wildness of The Wolves Go Hunt Their Prey; and the atmospheric density of Set Sail To Mystery. I don’t know about ten years from now—I am not into making plans, I rather take everything as it comes and follow my gut feeling when it comes to making music.”