Review Summary: What Visions lacks in originality, it makes up for in songwriting and guitar playing.
Unlike in the NBA where the KD initials evoke feelings of intense dislike or even hatred, heavy metal fans and artists have been expressing their adoration towards King Diamond more and more lately. Bands like Germany’s Attic and Sweden’s Portrait seem to have grasped the essentials of the Kim Bendix Petersen playbook. At the same time, across the pond, Carriage has joined the coven but what separates them from their aforementioned counterparts is their rather vintage sound. More specifically, the Portsmouth, Virginia outfit seems to have a slight preference for the first two Mercyful Fate LPs, with some Iron Maiden and Judas Priest elements in the mix as well. The band’s Facebook profile mentions other influences too such as Savatage and Metal Church but only if you expect them you can trace bits and pieces of them.
Therefore, once we have established that originality is out of the question on here, what are the redeeming features of the album？In a few words, this is an extremely fun LP full of nice melodies, brilliant guitar work and solid songwriting. The dual guitar solos are inspired, memorable and not overdone, while the riffs are very catchy even though you might feel a few deja vus along the way. Moreover, the band knows how to create an atmospheric offering with epic tendencies despite the fact that the longest song is slightly over 6 minutes. Take “The Owl”, for example; a 4:43 instrumental which sets the tone for the second half of the album perfectly. It’s fun, adventurous, melodic, catchy and serves as a great opener for the Maiden-esque “Hunting the Witch” which features a highly addictive riff and timely guitar leads. What is more, the vocalist does a compelling King Diamond impersonation by using almost the entire KD register, even though there are times where his high register is a bit off and his low one sounds a bit odd. Nevertheless, he’s far from a deal-breaker and he is capable of adding some groove such as on “In the Night”. As mentioned before, Carriage’s charm comes from their old-school approach and indeed, “Gypsy Woman” after the 2-minute mark, brings to mind Di'Anno-Maiden (especially “Strange World”). However, there are also more modern influences and can be traced on "Alucarda" which could have been part of Iced Earth’s Burnt Offerings
At the end of the day as solid as Visions
is, some listeners will not be fond of the whole tribute thing. In addition, I really have no idea where does such a band go from here; they have produced a damn fine album but in order for a sophomore release to make sense, it has to surpass this one and as talented as these guys seem to be, it is not an easy feat. However until Mercyful Fate visit us from the dead again, Carriage will hold us company as one of the best MF/KD tribute acts around.