THE VISION ABLAZE: Improving Quality of Life

The Vision Ablaze

The Vision Ablaze is a Danish melodic progressive metal band formed in 2010. The music is an effective force of aggression, melodic passages and that hinted-at tech. The vocals carry great nerve and emotion and ranges from blow-torch screams to mellow and strikingly well sung cleans. To back the voice the guitars are crushing and progressive without ever loosing the foothold on great song structure. The backbone of The Vision Ablaze, the bass and drums, comply with all the above – while the drums maintain an original feel all the way through, touching upon semi-jazzy elements and off-beat rhythms and blast beats.

The band released their new studio album “Youtopia” via Mighty Music, and we talked with guitarist Marcus Gronbech about it.

Define the mission of The Vision Ablaze.

To write songs with depth, emotion and great melodies. We want to make music that matters to people – most of us remember being young and having a band or some particular music help us through difficult times. If we can make a difference for someone like that, we’re doing it right!

Tell me about the creative process that informed your album “Youtopia” and the themes it captures.

We were going through the main themes of our album before giving it the title ‘Youtopia’. We discussed at length about naming it ‘Outopia’, inspired by Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’ but realized that perhaps it had a more negative ring to it  since ‘outopia’ is greek for ‘no place’. We wanted a slightly more positive vibe to the title since the artwork was so menacing and felt that More’s ‘Utopia’ was a great source of inspiration. The themes tied in really well with what we wanted to highlight on the album.

What is the message you are trying to give with “Youtopia”?

The entire album is one big observation about problems we see in the world around us – in particular political, economical and religious regimes. That’s the broad perspective – but we also look inward – to the individual’s ability to reinvent illusions and lies to keep hurtful truths at bay. It seems many lies are easier to live with than fighting for a higher truth. We want to say, that perhaps  ‘Utopia’ – that perfect place – may not exist in the physical sense, but rests inside of yourself – and that you alone are responsible for finding it.


How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

We recorded the songs at home – so there are some of our own recordings of the songs in earlier stages – and tablatures we made. We shot some video of these pre-recordings too, some of which can be found on youtube.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Very much – we orchestrate our song structures quite strictly. We focus a lot on the composition and melodies of our songs, and that simply requires that we pay a lot of attention to how they’re flowing, what emotions they convey and how they make us feel. To some that may seem overdoing it – or taking away some of the natural feel and flow. That’s simply just not true for us – it helps us make better songs.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

We prepared quite thoroughly: we wrote 15 songs, recorded them at home, listened to them and then made changes to them. That way, the actual studio time was more efficient – and the changes we made in the studio were minor and left us with plenty of surplus energy to make the songs shine. We had agreed to focus on the vocals, and since we could track the guitars in a second studio (well, it was really the kitchen, close to the coffee, recording guitars through a Kemper that we later re-amped), we had the opportunity of doing it like we wanted. We had to cut it short though because Pretty Maids were missing some bass-parts for their album, and we agreed to let them have our last couple of days of recording -  Peter returned two weeks later to record the final vocals.

How long “Youtopia” was in the making? 

Effectively it took 8 months to write it, 2 weeks to record, mix and master – and two months to make a cover and plan. It did however, take longer to find the best record company. Longer than we had intended anyway. Since this is our debut, we opted for a Danish company so we could meet them in person and just be sure that there were no barriers that could influence the cooperation in any negative way.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

There’s some Killswitch Engage, Devin Townsend, Hatesphere and some Pink Floyd influences on this album. We’ve read several reviews though, that found resemblance to Evergrey, Avenged Sevenfold, Sevendust and several other artist that neither of us actually listens to. We guess that means we’re only inspired and not copying.

What is your view on technology in music?

It saves a lot of time. For recording, it’s a life saver for a new band without strong funding – studio time is expensive. There’s an almost religious debate about technology diminishing the skill of musicians – and while that may have some truth to it, if you can’t play your instrument, it’ll show – particularly in live situations.

Technology is also great for the stage – think about wireless technology, cab and amp simulators that’ll save you the trouble of destroying your body while lifting gear about. So we’re all for technology – as long as it’s a choice and not a necessity.

Marcus Gronbech

Marcus Gronbech

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

We certainly do – we think all music is more than the sum of its parts. We want people to reconnect with themselves and other through means of music – to reflect on their life and their choices. And maybe it will bring about change for those people – propelling them to do better, feel better or refuse to settle for less. We think that music can improve the quality of life.

What are your plans for the future?

We want to share our music with the world – so touring/gigging is what looms ahead. It’s really important for us to meet fans and spread our music. We’re planning to spend most of 2016 gigging, and then we’ll start writing the follow-up and then: rinse and repeat. We have some music videos planned as well – even if we’ve already got 3 out, we think it’s important that people have something visual to go with our songs.

Stay tuned for more The Vision Ablaze news via the band’s Facebook page.

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