SyneRyder - favourites

Visual Audio Sensory Theater by VAST

Visual Audio Sensory Theater by VAST

4 stars
Elektra Records, April 1998
VAST website

Welcome to the Visual Audio Sensory Theater, the world as seen through the eyes of multi-instrumentalist and electronic musician Jon Crosby.

VAST's sound is a cross between Nine Inch Nails and Enigma, industrial metal with a dark spirit. The atmosphere of VAST is reminiscent of Prodigy, but the drum programming on this album is nowhere near as intricate as Liam Howlett's. These tracks are more influenced by heavy metal than 90s techno/dance.

The mood remains consistent over the entire 51 minutes of the album. Each track puts its own spin on the association of love with hate, of sex with death. Despite the christian overtones in some of the tracks (especially in I'm Dying), the CD as a whole is nihilstic and very dark.

Here is the ideal opening track to the album, while Touched is an electroacoustic masterpiece and my personal favourite. Pretty When You Cry could be a commercial radio single, were it not for the brief "explicit language" in the middle of the song (the sole reason this album has a Parental Advisory rating).

Despite this, Visual Audio Sensory Theater certainly isn't perfect. The introduction of Gregorian and Tibetan chants is a unique touch but sometimes appears as a gimmick. As early as Track 4, Crosby reuses the exact same chant samples he used on Track 2. The lyrics are competent but rarely subtle.

Overall this is a great CD, though not quite as groundbreaking as some people claim it to be.