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4.9 out of 5 stars27
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on 8 July 2000
VAST captures the imagination, and makes you pay attention to every lyric, every chord, and every industrial scraping on the CD. From the strong begginnings of 'Here', to the deep 'Touched', the so-true-it's-frightening 'Pretty When You Cry', the screaming 'Temptation', the unforgettable 'Three Doors', and the deep and moving final track 'You', this is amazing stuff. Worth every penny, a hertily reccommended album that defies genre, while appealing universally.
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on 15 February 2004
First, a confession. I don't own this album. A friend lent me his copy and in this day and age it would've been simple to produce a 'backup' copy. But we all know this is wrong. And when someone produces music with the towering, soaring, stirring brilliance contained on this thin piece of plastic, you know why. At times arrogant, melancholy, triumphant and maybe even deviant, you know you are in the presence of a unique talent. Guitar, drums, bass, violin and synth combine with thought provoking lyrics to create a theatre of audio sensation, just like it says on the tin. So if you crave the pomp and swagger of Killing Joke, but could do without the politics, buy your own copy.
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on 23 August 2010
I bought Visual Audio Sensory Theatre on the strength of "Touched", which blew my socks off watching Angel season 1 episode 2 on DVD. "Touched" is still one of my all time top-20 songs. I long ago decided that music was only worth buying when it made me leap out of my chair and head-bang, pogo, air-guitar or engage in some other involuntary jigging and/or gurning. This definately qualifies. No-one else that I know of has yet successfully blended folk-wistfullness-sincerity, spot-on metal guitar and world-music throat-singing. You just never hear real wistfullness, which is one of the things VAST do well which you don't normally hear. The other things are very specifically: guilt, remorse, faith-struggle and unrepentant desire in the full knowledge it's wrong. We live in a world of reflexive mandatory self-indulgence and instant gratification, in which the only thing forbidden is to tell anyone that anything they want to do is immoral, especially that anyone ought not to have sex. The power of VAST's sound comes from Jon Crosby's unquiet Catholic conscience. It is the Catholic conscience which produces the true aching sorrow, doubt, self-loathing, and queasy tension between attraction and remorse. Just as it is precisely those habitually condemned characteristics which make a person heart-focussed and loveable, so they make VAST's music outstandingly evocative and wonderful. It is his Catholic conscience which allows the soaring honesty about both his love for the beauty of sacredness in the Roman fashion, and about his own doubts about what is real. The reason these themes, and sounds, stand out is precisely because the Christian conscience has been so stigmatised and silenced in the interests of consumerism.

For industrial, goth and emo fans this album is a must-have. For a full-on slice of what americans call 'sophomoric' i.e. lower-sixth (old school) or year 11 self-indulgent empathetic angsting VAST is without rival.
As other reviewers have said, the quality among the tracks is inconsistent, but where the likes of Razorlight struggle for 30% decent per album, this achieves over 70% excellent. After a certain point, especially in later albums, you feel like shouting at the man "get over yourself already! Just do the research! Open up the book for yourself and dive in! Meet Jesus and have done!" If that doesn't bother you, or you are right where Crosby was when writing this album, or if it goes over your head and you're just in it for the epic and unique sounds, then this one will be a five-star for you.
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on 6 February 2003
Unfortunatly i do not feel that i am anywhere near a good enough wordsmith to truly do this album justice. It is very near perfect, an eclectic mix of styles and emotion, make this one of the few albums that truly deserves to be listened to all the way through. From the dark, angry and gothic sounds on tracks such as Here and Pretty whan you cry; through to the soothing and truly beautiful tracks like Flames and You, this album never fails in envoking real emotion in the listener. The lyrics on the album surpass most of todays artists and have a rare ability to produce images in the listeners mind. There is also some of the best string arrangements i have heard in this style of music, combine this with the various forms of chanting (sounds so much better than you'd expect, honestly) and you get one of the most powerful,original and distinctive albums of the past 10 years. However John Crosby (the man behind VAST) does seem to have a perchant for making ever-so-slightly less than cheerful music, and some of the tracks may increase your chances of cutting yourself when shaving your wrists.
To sum up, this really is a great album. Far exceeding the quality of its follow up, music for the people. It is perhaps not the easiest of albums to 'Get into' but then how many of the really great albums are. Once you get past the superficial branding of GOTH music (which this album recieved) and the dark nature of some of the songs, this will probably be one of the most rewarding albums you'll own.
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VINE VOICEon 9 March 2005
I found this group completely by accident but have never looked back since and have followed them with their following two albums (to date)
This album is still played every week on my stereo even though I have owned it for many a year. From the first moment to the last this album has high hopes and the song "Here" is a good example. The song is an explosion for the senses, containing so many layers that it takes a good few listens to pick out and appreciate each of them. The whole album just seems perfect from Crosby's vocals to the loops of monks singing and the deep bass.
The album itself contains a good mix of the loud and softer songs giving it a good balance but I think the thing that this album accomplishes is to be itself in an ever more mainstream environment. It is what it is and it's brilliant. Whether you're looking for a change, are already a Vast fan or just want to hear good music... this album will deliver!
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on 1 June 2001
Vast is a somewhat unknown band but none the less is one the most fresh and contemporary bands I have seen around!! Each of the multitude of songs is unique in its own way, from the searing guitar filled boom of 'here' to the emotional sound of 'touched'! Each song effects the listener in a number of ways, mainly through the use of a number of different instruments and the powerful effect of Jon Crosby's passion and lyrics! This album suits a whole number of emotions and thus effects you always, whatever state you are in personally. This album is refreshing and amazing and should be checked out by anyone wanting a change from the usual rock music! I salute Vast for the daring way that they have decided to take their music; for this album truly does effect you to the core of your soul!
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on 18 February 2016
Vast is beautiful crafted LP with tremendous production values. Cosby has the knack of combining great rock guitar, electronics and chants to make a timeless classic. Opening with "Here" we get an orchestral slow beginning that fills to a crescendo, then the electric driving beat kicks in that sounds like Nine inch nails have just burst into the studio however this cannot be classed as industrial as there is much more musicality in Cosbys voice. "Touched" is another immediate classic with a rock riff with eerie supporting vocals pushed to the back. This track is very stop start with highs and lows while the vocal "i'll never find anyone quite as touched as you" will haunt you the next day, the track ends with indian style instruments that add an additional mystique. After the first two energetic track we drop down to a slow song "Dirty Hole" opening with gliding piano. You just start to get cosy with this song then in kicks the mournful deep south blues sample that echoes through the rest of the track while Cosby voice soars over the rhythm until it breaks to the sample with a simple piano. Pretty when you cry is more low-fi with a heart beat drum. This is a nice simple arrangement with quiet lyrics until the mystical chants come in as a canvas for Cosby. There is an angry sentiment in this song which is delivered with syrup until the song kicks up a gear with electronic effects."i'm dying" starts with Gregorian chant then theres Cosbys slow burn until the beat kicks in. This is one to play loud, it is a slowish beat but the layering and melody is perfect, it notches up half way through and ends with a great bass line. "Flames" is more reminicent of Cosbys later outings with accoustic guitar and violin, a lovely ballad.
"Temptation" is the halfway mark with a stop start driving beat with low lying electrics plus the chanting is welcome return. "Three Doors" is Eastern guitar riff that is knocked into the western hemisphere with a touch of Depeche Mode buried in the mix. This is a great loud number with melody and anger. I can also here Babylon Zoo in this track (Spaceman) would mix in well with this. "The Niles Edge" is agentle number with bells and chants..i almost feel the snow falling, this is a late night, lights off track. "Somewhere else to be" has a great rhythm and mixes electronic with scream noises and hypnotising chant loops, a real sonic sensation for the ears. "untitled" bridges from the last track and is really an extension but softer picking up the beat with more guitar. This starts to head into 80s psychedelia territory and reminds me of Bauhaus off shoot Love and Rockets 7th Dream LP. The last track is "You" we now seem to be in space with blips, this seems to be heading into OMD space and could be a missing track from Architecture and Morality. It is a lovely simplistic moving song to end with.
In all a fantastic LP with great production with all elements beautifully placed in the mix. An instant classic.
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on 28 February 2004
But genius nonetheless... this is a fabulous album with spot-on metal guitar and brilliant sampling. His singing is wonderful and the song with solo cello and vocals is mind-blowing... IF you're in the right frame of mind. Approach this from the wrong angle and it's a laughably pompous exercise in artistic self-gratification. The lyrics can be slightly on the pigin-theology side, and some of the more suggestive/sexual lyrics have to be taken with a pinch of salt (not that the album is particularly vulgar). The trick is not to take it too seriously, to appreciate the musician rather than the poet; having said all that, the music makes it a thoroughly worthwhile purchase.
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on 15 September 2007
Stumbled upon vast whilst searching for other things, write ups sounded good, thought i would take a flyer and order it. It arrived and it is all i played for about three days, this album has everything. I suppose it helps being a NIN fan as i am, as there is a lot of NIN sounded stuff on this album, particulary the slower sounding Trent Reznor type tracks as well as the harder sounding influences. I have since ordered the other vast albums, however i suspect they wont be as good as this one, as this is an amazing album. I love all the tracks, however, the tribal sounds on Dirty Hole work so well and compliments the heavier nature of the song wonderfully. This song comes in a wave after hearing the superb Touched in all its emtional guises. Then into Pretty when you cry, again a brilliant song.

Quite simply, buy this album, I have, and would place it in a reasonably short list of my favourite albums ever.
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on 20 December 2007
Along with many other rock fans I bought this album on a recommendation, (of a journalist in Sounds{?} magazine who gave it a 5* review, stating it was the album of the year if not the decade). He was right. Jon Crosby creates a swooping, soaring aural masterpiece. Every track is a winner. Highlight for me is 'Touched'; African/Gregorian chants laced with aggressive acoustic guitar and powerful metal guitar buttoned down with pounding drumming - absolutely brilliant! On first listen to the cd I replayed this track immediately, even before I listened to the rest of the cd. It sent shivers down my arms and brought tears to my eyes it's that emotional, and still one of my top ten ever favourite tunes - and probably always will be. It's worth paying £15 for this one track - I kid you not. Incidentally, 'Songs for common people' and 'Nude' are great too.
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