From Celtic Frost’s Into The Pandemonium to Metallica’s S&M to the mind blowing latest from blackened chamber doomers Wolvserpent to the fucking insane Bach shredding of shred dominatrix/violinist The Great Kat, many metal artists have flirted with or amalgamated classical influences into their sound, to drastically varied levels of success. Ontario’s The Visit, comprised of Musk Ox’s very skilled Raphael Weinroth-Browne (cello) and the strikingly talented Heather Sita Black (voice), get it more right than most of the others put together.
Starting in the reverse fashion of four feet and cello planted firmly in classical yet with a deep, romantic and soul pulling fascination with the darker side of the musical world, the pair have managed to make music that could stir esteemed concert halls and gothier types alike. Through Darkness Into Light, a late self-released 2015 triumph, was one of the loveliest and most breathtaking releases of late 2015 (with a stellar Alan Douches mastering job that really makes it feel cinematic). Additionally, this was one of the most primary of a handful of albums that kept me “sane” last year (along w moody stuff like Tearist, The last temptation of christ, He Whose Ox Is Gored, Vowws, Marriages, etc.)
During a particularly dark time I found The Visit‘s gossamer heartache and striving sounds that float throughout Through Darkness Into Light to be a comforting sort of oxygen that I could trust in, a record I didn’t talk much about because I was holding it rather close. That is, ironically, often the best compliment we can give something…exclusion via the intimacy of overly processing how something powerful makes you feel which you aren’t yet willing to vocalize.
Metal fans of a certain type may scratch their caveman heads but others will get that heavier stuff like permanence, desire and the magnitude of self in a vast cosmos are at play, a certain naturalist’s existentialism that perhaps is a product of being an avant garde act from Ontario. Or maybe I am just projecting. When the bowing gets heavy enough on “Without This Flesh” I dare you to not be hit by the impact of feel anyway, even if other passages are somehow too floaty for you thrash types.
Personally, I think The Visit are a breath of cold, fresh air and make inventive, soul stirring art of the highest musical caliber.
Raphael and Heather answer my questions below.