Before I put the CD in the car stereo, having just picked it up from the editor, I thought it a rather pretentious name, Visual Audio Sensory Theater, especially in light of today's electronica wonder-groups: 2 kids with a keyboard and some samples that fail, like a thousand bands before them, to take the club dance scene by storm. It brings to mind images of some hugely wide-ranged, technically sophisticated, but not quite up-to-the scene group. "Very nice, dear. Now pass the Bauhaus, please."
The next two words that popped to mind were "Holy" and "Shit," in that order, and in rapid succession.
This is not "Goth music." This is not "Electronic dance." It ROCKS! This is Moody Blues-style orchestral arrangements with heavy metal crunch cords and dark lyrics blended together into a fantastic sound. It can get somewhat formulaic after a while: a soft, gentle (though generally musically complicated) intro that kicks over to rockin' hard-core stuff. "I didn't want to fuck you, baby . . . ." with a choral background and walls - yes, walls, plural - of sound, but it's so superbly done you'll hardly notice. The lead singer's voice wavers between Justin Hayward (of the aforementioned Moody Blues fame) and early Mick Jagger. I literally had to listen to the album 17 times before I could get past the first four songs without replaying them.
You may remember the album-oriented rock of The Moody Blues and Yes and ELP. They brought beauty to rock-and-roll music. V.A.S.T. brings beauty with an attitude. It will probably NEVER rock a club to the ground. Come to think of it, the only song on here you might dance to is Pretty When You Cry, but you cannot deny the powerful impact of these songs. It is, truly, "Audio" and "Sensory" and "Theater," and if it doesn't conjure up visual imagery, well, you're dead and just don't know it yet.
Try it and see.