When i first listened to VAST last summer i pushed the CD beside, for some oddball reason. But then I picked it up a few weeks later after hearing it and began to listen to it again and I found myself litterally in awe over it. There is so much depth and truth to each song on VISUAL AUDIO SENSORY THEATER. It’s not your typical alternative CD. There’s a choir in it, instruments that you never hear in your life, and just little things that makes you fall in love with the CD. I think that the most captivating thing is Jon Crosby’s voice. It’s deep, moving and it has so much feeling and emotion to it. When he sings Touched it makes me want to cry. His voice can be powerful, yet soft. His voice can describe so many emotions: Depression, lost love, sadness, frustration, you name it. For the life of me i can not understand why VAST has not gotten more airplay. The only song that I heard on the radio was Touched. And when that was playing it was one of those songs where you like it but you don’t ever find out who the group is. Thank God i finally did. 8-DTheir new album is coming out September 3, and their new single, Free is out being played on the radio. It was on the top 9 at 9 on 89x in Michigan. Maybe this time around people will know who VAST is and notice how good and important of a band they realy are. First of all you can’t compare them to anyone else. THey have their own sound, and just everything about them is soooooo different and sooooooo awesome. Geeze o peet they really amaze me. aNd you can kind of tell that they blow everyone else away too if you read some of the other customer reviews on here.VAST is right up there with Radiohead in my own opinion. Go out and buy VAST’s two CDs. LISTEN to thier new Song Free. Trust me you will be amazed and in awe over the power VAST brings to the radio.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
The debut of Vast, “Visual Audio Sensory Theator”, is just what it describes. Twelve tracks that will stimulate your senses and emotions in every which way. Jon Crosby goes through an emotional roller coaster in this album, from pain to ambience, sadness to elation, sin and regret to hope and redemption, and he brings you along for the ride. Vast’s music, particulary on this their debut album, is nothing that radio or MTV could ever appreciate in my opinion. It is intelligent, thought-provoking, edgy and genuinely emotional.. here is a list of the songs and a short description of each:1. “Here”, the album starts with a driving dark industrial song 8/10 2. “Touched”, An amazing array of ambient rock and industrial,Crosby’s vocals and composure shine brightly 10/103. “Dirty Hole”, Eerie sampling and strong vocals; haunting 8/104. “Pretty When You Cry”, A haunting bliss of gothic/industrial; an ecclectic video for this song 9/105. “I’m Dying”, A delve into spiritual comfort and confusion; a slow, heavy, melodic song 10/106. “Flames”, A love song on another level; beautifully composed, vocals by Crosby again are amazing 10/107. “Temptation”, A driving, emotional song about lust and heavy temptations 10/108. “Three Doors”, A very rhythmic and even catchy song 9/109. “Niles Edge”, Somber and surreal; brilliant vocals and sampling 10/1010. “Somewhere else to be”, Song of soul searching; again Crosby delivers with thought-provoking, melodic, and versatile vocal talent 9/1011. untitled, an instrumental masterpiece of progressive rock with choir vocals from Catholic monks 10/1012. “You”, A beautiful ambient song, Crosby’s vocals set the tone of hope and love 10/10 total, 113/120All in all just an amazing album from Vast that will keep you listening, thinking, and feeling.
You know, I don’t always have to really be a huge fan of an artist to agree with them. For instance, Lars Ulrich said that this is “one of the greatest debut albums [he's] heard in a long time”. In spite that I’m a fairweather Metallica fan and I don’t care for his ego, I must say that is almost what I think. But I’d modify that: This is the greatest debut album I’ve heard from ANY artist. And this also happens to be my favorite artist of all-time and there’s so many reason why. It gets compared to NIN because that’s the closest thing in the mainstream that people can compare it to, even though it sounds nothing like that. It kind of reminds me of what Trent did a year later though on “The Fragile”, considering the classical influence on that album that is somewhat evident here. While Jon Crosby uses samples, they aren’t those that are relied on, they are just really added elements to the song. Also, the music here is a good combination of acoustic and electric guitar and the electronics give it a great feeling. There are really just way too many things to say about “Visual Audio Sensory Theater”.
You may have not heard VAST directly, but I’m sure that if you’ve watched the TV series “Angel” that you have. Four songs from this album were used for that show. While I never watched much of it, it did give me interest.
It all starts out with the orchestration of the first track, “Here”, which goes out with muffled strings in its guitar refrain. I love Jon’s voice and he sounds young yet sophisticated in the verses. It is a great song to introduce someone to this artist of, by the way.
The most popular song on this album is definitely “Touched”. The sample of “Pilentze-Pe” or whatever it is called makes it really earthly, a quality that makes VAST so great. The track uses acoustic guitar in the intro and first verse. Jon’s voice is really great on this particular song and the bridge makes the song as well.
It’s certainly a lot easier to get into than some other songs on the album. For instance, while there is a lot of passion in Jon’s vocals, “Dirty Hole” may turn off some people in first listen, as sometimes it gets overpowering for people. But I absolutely love the organs on this song and the melody is great. It’s a great song that is also nice to listen to when angry or something.
Then dark synths come in on the electronic “Pretty When You Cry”. The first single from the album, it had an interesting video for it and is quite clever although at the same time a bit disturbing. It’s probably my least favorite song on the record but mostly because it doesn’t fit with the album’s context as well as the others.
Then you get to the monk-style chanting in the song personally addressed to Jesus, “I’m Dying”. Once again, Jon has a lot of passion in his vocals, on this one especially in the chorus. The atomsphere of the song just really enhances what it is. The outro’s got a great classical influence.
Then you get into the truly mellow territory with the cello-laden “Flames”. A great song to sleep or chill out by and not one of the more overpowering tracks for people. One of just many great songs here.
But you haven’t even gotten to the greatest part from there on. “Temptation” shows some of Jon’s excellent lyrics and also has some of the greatest melodies of the record (saying a lot). Another sample by the same people heard on “Touched”. The dark feel to this song is great. I like how it is relatively quiet in verses yet real heavy and dark in the bridge and chorus.
You get some Middle-Eastern influence of “Three Doors”, which also shows Jon’s young vocals (he was 21 at the time by the way) in a great way. I believe it’s a spiritual track as are some others here, another track worth repeating. The bridge reminds me of something the Cure would do.
“The Nile’s Edge” continues that earthly feel and kind of builds up as it goes on. Jon’s voice proves to be unique here and it is one track on here you will find yourself repeating, leading into somewhat similar territory in “Somewhere Else to Be”. More monk chants on this one and a great track that is relatively mellow yet angsty. That leads into the segue/transitional track which uses the same chant and has somewhat similar instrumentation.
Then it gets into a more keyboard-based electronic track in “You”, another sign that it was a great debut album. Even when Crosby’s lyrics are trite like in “Your eyes look like they’re from God”, it just sounds great, especially when you get into the chorus.
Sure, it may take some longer to get into it, but for those who don’t like VAST, they are severely missing out. 12 tracks of pure aural bliss that can be described as “orgasmic” in a single word and while the new age and classical influences are harder for some to get into, that’s just what the music itself is. There is a definite goth influence as well; I imagine quite a bit of those people would get into this album and many I know do like it. Like Reznor, Crosby also mixes electronic and rock to the tracks and Crosby does things truly unlike anyone else out there. I say it’s worth it and you’re wasting time if you’re reading my review. “Music for People” and “Nude” (my favorite album of all-time) are also exceptional. (But I dedicated my 100th review to this album.)
When I first played this album I felt like I was taken away to some organic setting where music and emotion ran wild – while not denying the darker and more painful sides that sometimes accompany the feeling of love.
Yes, this may seem a little dramatic – it’s just an album, right? Wrong. This is music as an artform, brilliantly pieced together to paint the canvases of our ears with lush soundscapes and haunting lyrics.
Overall, the album contains an eclectic variety of styles and genres, and this music cannot be confined to the limits of any one genre. It transcends any label, any stereotype – onto its own unique, yet beautiful plateau of sound.
Song by song review:
1. Here: 4/5 – A remarkably powerful opener to the album. It begins with a very beautiful classical intro that abruptly runs into industrial rythyms and electric guitars. Not the strongest track lyrically, but made to get your attention – and it succeeds in doing that.
2. Touched: 5/5 – Possibly Vast’s most well known song. You may have heard it in the trailer to the not-to-far in the past movie, “The Beach.” Anyways, this song has a very personal and earthy feel to it due to the almost conversational style vocals and soft guitar.
3. Dirty Hole: 4/5 – One of the darkest songs on the album. Begins with a powerful organ that transports you to some dark, old church sitting alone in the first pew. The lyrics are a sort of warning against predatorial lovers, and the music plays a very fitting ominous-sounding tune to match.
4. Pretty When You Cry: 4/5 – Another one of Vast’s more well-known songs. The piano combined with a strong bass line make this song amazing. The lyrics are an intelligent satire on people who take pleasure in hurting others who have trusted and or loved them.
5. I’m Dying: 4/5 – This feels like one of the most honest songs on the album. It’s displaying a man full of spiritual confusion who states that although he does still believe in God/Jesus – he is searching for something to reassure him. The chants plus the industrial-style guitars and rythym back up the nice vocals and honest lyrics very well.
6. Flames: 5/5 – (Has my vote for one of the best songs of all time – and I am not exaggerating that one bit!) There is no way that I can portray the true beauty of this song on here. It just has to be heard – hopefully by everyone. This song is the perfect combination of peaceful music (thanks to an amazing job playing the strings), breathtakingly emotional and honest lyrics and exceptional vocals. Has the ability to put you in tears and/or lull you to sleep in peace.
7. Temptation: 3.5/5 – Possibly with better placement on the album, I would like this track more, but no track could hold up well following an amazing track like ‘Flames.’ Still, this is a somewhat unique song, and believe parts of it’s structure and sound (not lyrics) are somewhat of a tribute to the Beatles.
8. Three Doors: 3/5 – The low spot of the album for me, but sense there’s only one track that doesn’t blow my mind – it’s acceptable.
9. Niles Edge: 4/5 – An interesting concept in work here. Somewhat of a psychological storytelling in the lyrics combined with the earthy, true sounding vocals – all put to an almost ambient style backdrop of music.
10. Somewhere Else To Be: 3.5/5 – The music is the strongest part of this track here. Nothing against the vocals/lyrics, but the music is just the shining star here – would have made an incredible instrumental track as well.
11. [Untitled]: 4/5 – This song was left off the tracklisting by Amazon for some reason, however, it should not have been. It serves a definite purpose on this album – a nice exit from ‘Somewhere Else to Be’ and turning into an intro for the next, beautiful song, ‘You.’
12. You: 5/5 – I wish I could give both this song and ‘Flames’ rating higher than 5, but I told myself I’d stick to my own rating system. Anyways, this song is just so hard to describe – it was a very good choice to end the album because the listener will have become one with the singer by this point in the album and will be right there alongside him – either in happiness or on the floor in pain. Amazing closing piece combining breathy vocals and soothing electronics. The only thing I can compare it to is the song (not the CD) “And All That Could Have Been” by Nine Inch Nails on their rare EP, ‘Still.’
This album basically takes the listener on a spiritual-type journey of self-discovery as we ride through the waves of emotions that are presented on this cd. It’s a very honest, romantic, and yes sometimes depressing album that represents human life and everything that we as people go through with ourselves and our relationships with friends, family, lovers and even our spirituality. It’s hard to belive that ‘VAST’ is really just the work of only one man: Jon Crosby, and this man deserves a lot of credit for managing to create a very unique style of music.
I think almost anyone should enjoy this album, but particularly fans of: Depeche Mode, The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, Coldplay, Sarah Mclachlan, A Perfect Circle and many others. Industrial, Rock, Pop, Ambient – whatever you want to call this album – its an amazing collection of music that warrents a listen from everyone.
I believe so. He’s the best one man band since Trent Reznor came onto the scene with “Pretty Hate Machine” back in ‘89. “Visual Audio Sensory Theater” is a rare achievement in Rock music. It’s epic and intimate, beautiful and dark, and can rock while still being delicate. Filled with Gregorian chants, guitars that can both rock and be lush, beautiful electronics, touching lyrics and vocals, and a dark-dare I say, almost Gothic-background, this is the type of album that should be at the top of the charts, not bands like Matchbox 20. You’ve probably heard “Touched” and “Pretty When You Cry” before without knowing it. “Touched” has been on the show “Angel” before as well as other various tv shows and movies. Those are the obvious two highlight here, but others such as “Flames”, “Here”, and “The Niles Edge” are all just as good. The instruments are perfect. Jon plays the majority of the instruments, and the way he mixes everything together is astounding. His voice is also something that leaves me in awe. When he sings in “Flames”, an amazing ballad with the best cello solo I’ve ever heard, you cannot help but think he’s next in line for critical praise like Trent Reznor and Thom Yorke get. His lyrics are amazing, too (“I went into the ocean, I came looking for some love, all I found is that I found I haven’t found enough” from “Temptation”), epecially considering this is just his first effort. There isn’t one bad song here, I can’t recommend this CD enough, I also can’t wait for their/his new one coming out soon.