1. “Reaching New Heights” – 2:53
2. “Ink Stained Promise” – 3:40
3. “Undecided” – 2:50
4. “Krueger” – 3:22
5. “Cliche” – 3:55
6. “Prove Me Wrong” – 3:33
Total Runtime: 20 min, 12 sec
It’s a frigid, windy morning and just over the horizon, you see a mountain, paling in comparison to any you’ve ever seen. Perfectly lit by the sunrise, you find yourself wanting nothing more than to climb it, so you take a deep breath, gulp down any fears you might have and head towards it. As you reach its base and begin climbing, you’re suddenly jerked awake and realize that it was all a dream. Now, the mountain is all you can think of, day and night… you want to find it and prove to yourself that you can climb it. Metaphorically speaking, this is what it’s like when you chase your dreams. That’s what Milwaukee metalcore quintet, These Fading Visions want you to feel when listening to their debut EP, Reaching New Heights. You’re ALLOWED to be scared, after all it’s only human, but you will never get anywhere if you don’t force yourself to overcome those fears.
A rainstorm engulfs the listener, as the title track/intro fades in. Just in the distance, you hear the voice of vocalist Justin Wiedower, encouraging you. As a slow, acoustic melody plays in the background he says “I have a fear of heights. I think to myself, don’t look down, never look down because the ground… the ground is always waiting. It’s always waiting to catch me. But that doesn’t stop me, I keep reaching… reaching new heights. Until I realize that the ground will never catch me!” Finally, the rest of the band fades in, signaling to the listener that there is hope, despite the fear during the oncoming storm.
A heavy guitar melody sets in, as we’re brought into “Ink Stained Promise.” Given the title, you’ve probably guessed that this is track is either A) upbeat or B) melancholy… to spare you the guessing game, we’ll tell you that the answer is B. We pan in to a scene where an individual is sitting, contemplating suicide after a failed relationship. Through each and every note, you can feel the bevy of emotion that is contained within them. Through both Wiedower’s clean and screamed vocal passages, you can feel the angst within him. The two lovers have (I can only assume) matching, significant tattoos… an ink-stained promise to one another that was, ultimately, broken by indecision or infidelity. Right off the bat, you get a feeling of how talented these guys are.
Suddenly, “Undecided” comes roaring in, as we’re brought into the perspective of the female in the situation. This track is an onslaught of anger, hatred and disgust. Unlike the track before it, the rhythm section (Eric Dolister and Eric Treuden) really shine on this one. This is the first time, as well, that we hear Dolister’s vocals which come in through the chorus. While the band chose the previous track as their first single, I really think that this one would have been more fitting to introduce the world to who they are. Not only is it heavier and more destructive but it shows a good bit more of the band’s tight-knit personality. To continue the story, the woman is sitting in a spot of indecision. Knowing that she’s going to have to make a tough decision between the man she loved for so long and the one that she fell for, while she was with him, she uses alcohol and masks her true feelings. I’m unsure if the two men meet and they are talking to each other at some point but they tell either themselves or each other that she’ll end up leaving them both heartbroken.
One of my favorite riff sections on this album is in the beginning of “Krueger.” A short, light melody that abruptly stops before it gets nice and heavy again. This is the only track that features zero clean vocals and it’s perfect that way because it’s the angriest one on the EP. I’m not 100% sure of the meaning to this track but it seems that she has fallen asleep and is having nightmares that someone (presumably one of her love interests) is threatening to kill her, after finding out of her infidelity. The title itself is likely an ode to legendary horror icon, Freddy Kruegeer, who infiltrated people’s dreams to kill them.
“Cliche” struck me as odd when I first heard it. It begins with a mixture of guitar melody and, what sounds like, an organ part to it… giving it a strange and haunting air about it. This is the point in the story where all trust has faded in the relationship, down to nothing. As he finds out what she has been up to, she hides behind a ridiculous excuse and he knows that she’s been lying this entire time. The guitar solo in this track, from 3:25-3:37, while a bit faded out in the mix is worth noting here. Nothing too flashy but it gets the point across.
The final track, “Prove Me Wrong” is probably my favorite point in the album because this is where the story takes a more positive turn. Everyone loves a good love/hate relationship story but it’s nice to see a more upbeat end to it all. This is where he decides he’s had enough, he ends the relationship and she has the typical “you’ll never find anyone again” conversation with him, through fake tears in her eyes. Regardless of how things turned out, he refuses to let it bring him down. He’s determined to prove her wrong and he won’t stop until it happens. There’s a lot of different things happening, vocally, here because Wiedower and Dolister trade out during the chorus. The vocal dynamic between them works, though.
There’s a lot of different things happening with this EP but there’s a ton of emotion thrown into it and the band makes sure you feel it, at every turn. For a debut EP, I was immediately impressed with it because it sounds like they’ve been doing this for years and they know what works for them. A little formulaic, yes but not boring whatsoever. There’s some vocal glitches, which might be cliche to some but they’re perfectly worked in here. Overall, this is a solid effort in proving to the world that These Fading Visions is a band worth your time. Be sure to catch the guys at their release show, tonight at The Metal Grill in Cudahy, WI, details below! Even if you miss the show, spend the $5 and pick this EP up… you’ll be glad you did!
“Reaching New Heights” EP Release show/MOSH Against Cancer featuring (click to expand):
“Ink Stained Promise” (Official Audio)
These Fading Visions is:
Justin Wiedower – Vocals
Chase Kendall – Guitars
Mitch Garcia – Guitars
Eric Dolister – Bass/Vocals
Eric Treuden – Drums