Haunted Shores
Viscera


4.0
excellent

Review

by AlphaBetaFoxface USER (16 Reviews)
November 3rd, 2015 | 92 replies


Release Date: 11/03/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Theatrical fun.

It never once passed my mind that the same man who pushed "djent" to the forefront of current-day metal would form an orchestral, black metal-inspired duo. While the progressive elements of Misha Mansoor's previous works still stand a head above the new attributes of 'Viscera', there is no doubting that this EP showcases some of the most original and enjoyable music that Mansoor and Mark Holcomb have ever written. A hard-hitting flurry of blastbeats and rapid riffs, 'Viscera' is a fantastic EP that shows serious promise for future releases.

The title track and opener came as a surprise. A massive, yet brief orchestral opening does an excellent job of setting a colossal tone for the EP. It is incredibly cinematic and manages to capture the intensity of the EP within a short minute and 15 seconds. Followed up by one of the most violent tracks ever to be recorded by Misha and Co., 'The Spire' pulls just as much inspiration from black metal and death metal as it does from the band's progressive roots. 2 minutes of blastbeats and ridiculously fast riffs. Followed up by the theatrical epic, 'Norway Jose', the band continue the blackened trend set by 'The Spire', while including higher-register riffing that Holcomb has become known for. 'Harrison Fjord' holds back on the black, and leans more on Holcomb's progressive metal riffing. That is, right until the end of the track where an impulse to be kvlt must have struck Holcomb and Mansoor in the studio. It is an odd change; rapidly switching from uplifting to bleak and violent, but it is a fun ending nonetheless.

The next two tracks are quite similar to the work Mansoor and Holcomb put out with 'Periphery', and while great tracks, are a little too predictable. However, EP closer, 'Blast Inc.' is for lack of a better word, a blast. Featuring a wonderful use of layering sounds, and some fun saxophone work (yes, a saxophone), it is one of the better tracks on the EP. And while the saxophone outstays it's welcome at the end of the track (unless of course saxophone humour is something you enjoy), the song on the whole is rampant, visceral, theatrical fun.

Production is as expected from Mansoor. Loud, and punchy as all hell. This EP packs a solid, progressive punch, which in itself suits the blackened aspects of the EP surprisingly well. While the kit may be a little loud (I am looking at you, snare), it is mixed remarkably well; regardless of samples. Drum playing sounds authentic and is a step-up from anything Misha has produced prior in regards to virtual instrumentation. The guitar work is as expected; technical, off-beat, and chunky. The famous (or infamous depending on how elitist you find yourself to be) guitar tone that 'Periphery' perfected does not shy away from this EP, and adds an interesting dynamic when paired with the different styles of music on the EP. While sporadic at times, each song is unique and easily identifiable due to a more concise approach to song structure that was never utilised in the duo's previous works.

'Viscera' is a strong release. It is enjoyable all throughout, and absolutely punches. The instrumentation is solid, the production is tight, and the EP length is great. The blending of genres works very well, and while the EP's sound is extremely polished, it does show that high-fi production and black metal riffing can work well together in the right context. And while there aren't any tracks that are masterful in execution, 'Viscera' is, on the whole, a step ahead of anything the duo have released previously. Blackened-death-inspired, orchestral progressive metal" Why not.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
AlphaBetaFoxface
November 3rd 2015


89 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fun release. Was sitting around the 3.7-3.8 mark so just rounded up to 4.0. Hoping the duo keep up with this sound for future records!

OwMySnauze
November 3rd 2015


1906 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Saw this on iTunes as a pre-order last week. Now it's disappeared along with the rest of their discog. Weird.

Digging: Ghost Iris - Apple Of Discord

AlphaBetaFoxface
November 3rd 2015


89 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Try here



https://hauntedshores.bandcamp.com/

OwMySnauze
November 3rd 2015


1906 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Btw great write up. Kinda surprised with the "black metal" label you gave it. Didn't get that vibe from the EP teaser

AlphaBetaFoxface
November 3rd 2015


89 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks man. I found that many sections of the EP had similar guitar work to that found in black metal. Many sections just didn't sound progressive at all to me. Upon the first listen, prog and death came to mind, but after repeated listens, that was just the vibe I was getting. Could just be me though! Haha

AlphaSeed
November 3rd 2015


4 Comments


What do you think about the drums? that snare doesn't sound so great to me. Enjoying the guitars though.

Asdfp277
November 3rd 2015


19464 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

jenny hval's viscera >

stonedinthemall
November 3rd 2015


18 Comments


Going to check this out soon. I cringed a bit when you mentioned the snare sound... One thing that's bothered me about Periphery's last two albums is that the snare drums sounded like they were recorded in airplane hangars.

AlphaBetaFoxface
November 3rd 2015


89 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Snare was a bit much. I do like the rest of the kit. Doesn't sound super manufactured like work on the first Periphery record. I'm a sucker for punch.



I would probably agree if I were a fan of Norwegian folk music. But alas, I have never listened to Hval. Will take a look!

Asdfp277
November 3rd 2015


19464 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

it's indie folk tho, not Norwegian folk music.....



but it's good yea



AlphaBetaFoxface
November 3rd 2015


89 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well, according to Sputnik's extremely accurate tagging system, she is experimental+folk+pop. I see no "indie".



I refuse to do external research. She is a Norwegian who has associations with folk music. I am 47% certain that even she finds her personal identity in the Sputnik categorization system.



And i'll have to get accustomed to her voice before making an 'A>B' decision, but she sounds interesting to say the least

bloc
November 3rd 2015


54453 Comments


This is awesome

Digging: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Is Is

Durrzo
November 4th 2015


1650 Comments


"(unless of course saxophone humour is something you enjoy)"

I honestly laughed pretty hard at the end of that song. It just kept coming back to the point of absurdity and I couldn't help but be amused.

AlphaBetaFoxface
November 4th 2015


89 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Reminded me of the crazy vocal solo half way through David Maxim Micic's 'Disorder'. Must have been a blast to record

BeyondCosby
November 4th 2015


2399 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So good.



One thing to look into is that you give Mansoor a lot of credit in this article, but I'm pretty sure this is Mark's baby. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure both had equal input in the making of this album, but I want to say that this was Mark's thing before he joined Periphery.



Again, I could be wrong...

Beardog
November 4th 2015


2711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Snare is way too loud, but this is pretty great music!

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
November 4th 2015


16070 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

pretty sure this was misha's thing before he joined periphery

BeyondCosby
November 4th 2015


2399 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Misha had his solo project Bulb. He could have been fronting both but I'm pretty sure I've read interviews where it's explicitly mentioned that Mark started Haunted Shores.

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
November 4th 2015


16070 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

pretty sure I dunno anything either so nvm.

BeyondCosby
November 4th 2015


2399 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Are we breaking up?



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