Four songs in 54 minutes? Wow, that promises to be quite complex, because normally playing times like these either indicate Progressive Rock/Metal or abstract soundscapes from the Industrial/Noise area. And as the French folks of ULTIME ATOME come my way via Musea Records, it is clear that we get the progressive of the two possibilities here.
Now I have to admit that I am not exactly a specialist for this style, meaning that I have a hard time comparing the songs to other bands and directions, so I will approach "Dark Visions" quite openly and see, what will come from it in the end. The outer part of the CD is quite unusual, meaning that it does not really look like what will be in it, all in purple and also photo wise rather off the regular path.
But on to the music. This neither is the usual Progressive Rock, at least the one that I am used to, with bands like PENDRAGON, EVERON or also SATELLITE, because ULTIME ATOME are a good bit further out, in terms of the use of the keyboards and even more so the quite wilful vocals of Jean Marc Tesorio, who without a doubt has a good voice, but more often than not uses it very unusually, be it a bit weird vocal lines or also half spoken, half whined vocals, which won't make it too easy to the clueless listener to find his way into the sound of the Frenchies.
The sheer length of the tracks surely will not be an advantage to some people, even though in songs like the opener "Meine Liebe" (despite the German title completely in English) we won't find any big fuddlings, we do get quite extensive instrumental parts, but those try to build up an almost hypnotizing atmosphere, which is even furthered in the following 22 minute monster "Battlefield" and together with Tesorio's quite original vocal performance results in a pretty unique overall sound. The two remaining tracks do not break the 10 minute mark (even though they are not far off either), but hit a similar dark curb, which in itself is quite interesting as they differ nicely from most related acts.
Altogether there still is not overtly much happening in the songs, despite the quite exorbitant length of the compositions the flow inside the songs partly goes overboard, which results in the fact that it is rather hard to befriend the material of which I have read that it supposedly is close to old MARILLION. I cannot judge that as I do not know the old MARILLION.
All in all I strongly advise you to listen into ULTIME ATOME before buying it, because even though it is not really complex, the song material still is hard to digest, at least I most probably won't engage in a longer lasting relationship with this CD… (Online September 1, 2003)