Expanding the Extreme: an interview with Giannis K of Dark Vision

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For over fifteen years Greek extreme metallers Dark Vision has earned themselves a strong reputation in the metal underground for their expansive death metal sounds. The recent release of their Ingrowth EP shows the band is stronger and more inventive than ever, their melodic death metal sound soaked in blackened overtones and stirring essences of classic metal and rock n roll a compelling encounter which stands out for band and extreme metal. Seizing the offer to find out more about band, its history, and the new release we set about drummer Giannis K with plenty of questions…

Hello Giannis and welcome to the site.

Firstly for those yet to discover your sounds please introduce the band and the entity that is Dark Vision.

Hello! First of all we would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak through your magazine. Dark Vision exists since 1996, we started playing atmospheric/heavy/black metal continuing these days into a straight forward death/black metal. Our influences lately covering many genres such as death/black metal, rock, classic heavy and all these under a rock’n’roll attitude…  If someone really needs to put a table about our genre, we can say that band’s like Satyricon, Behemoth, Black Sabbath, Voivod, etc. defined our nowadays style.

The band began in 1996, longevity many bands can only dream of. What has kept you inspired and passionate as a band?

The reason that this band started many years ago, was our love in this specific style and also for its subgenre. This made us to continue until now.  The magic moment when you creating a song or you are on stage, keeping you vigilance.  Another very important reason is that as a band we are not playing as professionals but at the same time we are trying to act as much a professional do.  In simple words, when a band is playing for the money there is a certain point that the musician will consider most of the time firstly the profit… In our case as we said because we are not playing for living we have the privilege to play whatever we want in our way.

How has your music and intent as a band evolved over the past 16 or so years?

We have definitely evolved all these years.  Apart of the several line-up changes we grow up as personalities, this made us think with more mature in every way from creating music to acting live. With the current line up the band continues the last years a specific way which evolving us.

Dark Vision is a band which has like so many survived numerous line-up changes, how has that impacted on the band generally and do you think and feel  certainly for Dark Vision, that this inevitable process actually benefits bands creatively for the main?

Following all these years we can say for sure that all these line-up changes firstly made us stronger and secondly helped the band to evolve as it is today. Of course this doesn’t mean that if a band having a standard line-up for years will not evolve, but in our case helped a lot. The only think that we can say was against us in every chance, is the time and the preparation until the band became ready to act again.

You have just released your excellent  Ingrowth EP through Bluntface Records though it had its first release as a vinyl exclusive last 113375year for your fifteen year anniversary. How has it been received so far and has this new unleashing from the independent US label brought a deserved energy and awareness to the EP?

Thanks for your good words! Bluntface Records definitely played a very important role in this release. From the very beginning we realized that with Otto from Bluntface Records we can work very smoothly and creatively together. We choose to release “Ingrowth” in vinyl. A part of the 15 years anniversary, it was a dream since the beginning of the band. We strongly believe that vinyl is more complete and at the same time nostalgic than the nowadays cd. The press worldwide hugged this release since the very beginning and we received very flattering words, we are thanking all of you for your support up to now.

How would you say the new release has evolved from and offers predominantly different to previous album Bestial Remedy?

We worked different this time. From creating the songs to the recording process everything was different. We worked at the recording sessions with more live feeling, which means that we didn’t use this time metronome, but we played all together in order to be closer to this live feeling.

Definitely! “Bestial Remedy” was the begging of a new era for the band and after all these years we can assure you that “Ingrowth” is a big step beyond for us, not only on the composing side but as an experience in the recording sessions.  This time with “Ingrowth” we focused more in the emotional, although our technical skills became better with results on this album.  The songs are approaching better death/black forms and all this under a “rock’n’roll” attitude.

There is a great melodic groove and breath to Ingrowth and its blackened death metal stance. Has this aspect naturally emerged or was something you wanted to intentionally explore?

Most of the things that we are doing are coming out naturally … after “Bestial Remedy” it was natural to continue and evolve this style under our way.

How are songs written within the band and what is more often than not the initial spark to an idea and song?

Composition process usually can be with 2 ways, sometimes our guitar player Mark is writing the song and presenting to the rest of the band in our rehearsals, and another way is to start in the studio working all together on an idea.

What are the strongest influences upon your writing musically and lyrically?

Many influences from daily matters up to religion (from a historical point of view), other times songs can describe personal situations or even our darkest thoughts…

Did you have set ideas and vision for songs before recording the EP in the studio or did they change and grow their own different character whilst bringing Ingrowth to life?

Most of the ideas in “Ingrowth” album were conceived in the preproduction. When the recording process started, we preferred to stay more close to technical matters (microphones set up, Amplifiers, etc), of course, in general if any last minute ideas arise and are worthwhile we are willing to try it.

IMG_4029Ingrowth investigates, as your previous releases, the deepest and richest of shadows, is there an underlying theme to the EP?

We were just felt free to do things without second thought. The result is what you are now hearing and we are proud for that.

Is there a particular moment on Ingrowth which leaves the proudest feeling inside and alternatively is there something on the release which you are now inspired to explore further in future songs?

Yes, definitely the rock n roll element affected us regarding our music and emotionally at the same time.

On a recent episode of The Bone Orchard podcast I featured your track Garden of Nuclear Mushrooms. Can you give some back ground to the track?

Thank you for this! Garden … is a song that refers to the Apocalypse from our point of view …

Across the years you have shared stages with the likes of Mayhem, Satyricon, Sodom, Rotting Christ, and Septic Flesh to name a small few, what have been the biggest moment live and any artists you would sell a kidney to play with? 😉

Hahahaha! … Nice question ….. ! Hmm… probably for a special worldwide tour with Satyricon, Rotting Christ, Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth…!

There have been quite a few very impressive metal and rock bands bursting out of Greece in the past couple of years. Is the scene there as vibrant and impressive as it seems from the outside?

Yes! Over the last years lot of bands are doing a good job holding high the Greek flag of our metal scene…

What is next on the agenda for Dark Vision?

Next thing will be a live concert in Athens at 6th of April with other local bands…. Also writing news song at the same time…IMG_4263

Thanks for taking time to talk with us any final thoughts you wish to share?

Thank you! Check our new album “Ingrowth”

Lastly which are the artists to have made the biggest impact on you as musicians?

Daily we hear a lot of things … we are always trying to expand our music  influences … of course musicians such as Frost from Satyricon, Inferno from Behemoth, Ihsahn from Emperor, Jon Nodtveidt, John Gallagher, we admire them and their influences guiding us , also lately Kvelertak from Norway is one of the bands that made something fresh in the scene …

The RingMaster Review 08/03/2013

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Dark Vision: Ingrowth

Dark Visions

Greek extreme metallers Dark Vision has built a strong reputation in their homeland without truly finding a wider recognition worldwide since forming in 1996. Their new EP Ingrowth will not immediately put that right but with its impressive sounds could be the spark to start that deserved reward for the band. Released through Bluntface Records, it is a strong and compelling release built on a base of melodic death metal with blackened overtones which draws essences of classic metal and rock n roll into its stirring mix. It is not going to take you into a new unexplored venture musically but does easily satisfy any and every need required from a slab of devastation.

Starting off with a heavy/black metal sound the band released a series of demos in their first three years to strong reception. As their sound evolved their debut album came in 2000, though Full Moon Shines received its official release in 2002 through NMC Records. With line-up changes Dark Vision returned to full might in 2006 with the quartet’s self-financed Bestial Remedy EP unleashed two years later. With their live shows also drawing strong acclaim with the sharing of stages with the likes of Mayhem, Satyricon, Sodom, Rotting Christ, Septic Flesh and more coming across the years, the band has set themselves as a respected presence in the Greek underground metal scene. Ingrowth shows they are ready for wider acclaim and since its vinyl release last year has drawn a good response something the digital release now should one feels accelerate.

The atmospheric instrumental Thy Flesh Thy Bones opens up the encounter, its brief but dramatic presence and startling breath 113375immediately leaving one on tenterhooks for what is to follow. King of Emptiness at first stops thoughts in their tracks as it is not of the same breath of its ‘introduction’, a different type of beast which is slightly unexpected with this release our first encounter with the band. The song soon has control of ear and senses with its stalking riffs, tight melodic weaves, and growling insidious vocals though.  It prowls and stalks with a venomous heart and intense energy throughout whilst sending spikes of sonic craft and acidic melodic spears through the ear with appealing ease. It is a strong and compelling track which satisfies without lighting up the passions fully, something its successor soon remedies.

Pain Redirected fuses classic metal grooves with punk coated aggression whilst again the vocals squall with abrasive intent and pleasing malevolence. The drums cage the senses impressively so the guitars can score them with skilled violence and intrusive rewards whilst the bass though arguably not as openly obvious as one would wish, stomps over the ear with the hunger of a ravenous beast. It is a great and contagious track which confirms already that Dark Vision is a band to be known about.

The EP gets better the further you go into its muscular depths with Garden of Nuclear Mushrooms a pinnacle. The technical prowess of the band is an ever present throughout the release but here squeals and captivates within the brawling intensity magnificently, the discordant scything a delicious piercing within the ravenous consumption of the song. It is intelligently varied in sound and pace along is sinewy length to bring a thoroughly pleasing and compelling engagement.

The EP closes with firstly the thunderous assault of Amongst Dead Butterflies and lastly the title track. The first of the pair has a snarling hunger which transforms its destructive rhythms and merciless riffing into an overwhelming intensity speared by sharp melodic enterprise whilst the closer is a scarring tempest of incessant sonic niggling and corrupting black hearted energies. Both tracks are wholly infectious and an immense end to a great release.

Dark Visions is not a band to bring you something openly new but one which creates invigorating extreme music better than plenty of other artists. Ingrowth is a recommendation you should not ignore.

http://www.darkvision.info

RingMaster 07/01/2013

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