“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The Holy Bible / John 3:16
So is this album evil or divine, that is what we need to investigate right now. What John 3:16 does show us is that he has quite an arsenal of weapons to throw at the listener. For someone acquaintance with his music there would have been an expectation for a cold industrial soundscape, but what did we receive?
The debut full-length album from John 3:16 is a full fledged concept album based on the Divine Comedy by Dante. It will be based upon your knowledge on literature and so called sophistication how well you can follow the ongoing themes and draw likeness’ to the original texts.
Personally I have no problems admitting that I haven’t read the work through, but I will also say this: You don’t need to have!
I’m gonna rattle the cage and tell you all to fuck the concept, close your eyes and enjoy the ride for I guarantee you - It’s a ride of biblical proportions!
Think of music as huge puzzle, some of them work only in terms of audio entertainment while others make use of other dimensions as well, such as visions and above all feelings.
John 3:16 takes the attentive listener along for a flight among the cotton clouds that the beautiful, almost ethereal, guitar arpeggios wave together. A quote from Tenacious D’s debut album keeps popping into my head “How about the power to move you?” because that is really what this album is about. It’s like falling into the rabbit’s hole, but what you find on the other side is a piece of paradise you never want to leave. Of course we have some passages that feel like reading a Robert Jordan book, where the road through the forest never seems to end, but on the other side we have beautiful fulfillment.
Even if the music does show a few glimpses of the good old industrial sounds, these only serve to give paradise a well welcome edge instead of just flights along with the unicorns. Without some of the harsher sections the album would have been too close to a gospel or something out of “My Little Pony” and way too cute.
There is no angst in the music which is also a good thing. John 3:16 showcases the rare combination of beauty and an edge without useless melancholy and this is what makes “Visions of hereafter” truly unique.
The layers and sounds are woven together so tight that they couldn’t live without each other. This natural symbiosis creates atmospheres thick enough that you can see the shapes of the music before your eyes... almost real enough to touch them.
The album also features some vocals and spoken samples that, I believe, are added on to strengthen the concept of the music, but I really don’t see them as a necessity, nor do they actually take anything away from the overall experience.
However, the absolute strengths of “Visions of the Hereafter” is definitely in the layered atmospheres and ethereal soundscapes.
Even if the production is a bit ‘cold’ there is an enormous amount of warmth in the music.
...and most importantly, the music leaves me with a happy smile.