Review Summary: Watching the Silent World Go On
Epic supergroup Viscera is back straight from the Netherlands with one of the most heart-pounding, mesmerizing and ultimately brutal sophomore records in recent memory with ‘Carcinogenesis.’ Their debut record ‘Obsidian’ unleashed in the year of our lord 2020, was a masterclass in technicality, melody and sheer power and to say that they’ve returned with a superior product is unbelievable. The heightened sense of songwriting, the continual push of breakneck pacing, and the fat, thick neck-snapping breakdowns are just a few of the features that standout in this nine song, forty-minute death metal clinic.
In this modern age of death metal where the craziest vocal performances and most insane instrumental showcases are generally regarded as the standouts of the genre, i.e., Lorna Shore, Brand of Sacrifice, etc, it’s nice to witness a band that does have some of those elements but expounds upon it further delving into other heavy genre’s components and weaving them masterfully into an already intense listening experience. The presence of melodic guitar solos, melodic choruses with clean vocals, symphonic refrains and grindcore-influenced blast beat sections amongst other things, helps to create swells and steep dynamics throughout the track list allowing the listener to be surprised with the changeups and being unable to predict the movement and flow of the songs. With bands like Lorna and BoS, I often feel predictability and repetition stunt the effectiveness of their records because their schtick sort of becomes commonplace and more of an annoyance to the song rather than a legitimate tension builder or shock factor. Viscera is able to bypass these symptoms of heavy music with creative song structures, a variety of influences and a group of musicians and can combine their technical abilities to create songs that are still coherent and exciting without sacrificing those instrumental skills.
The opening track and third single “Carcinogenesis” establishes the progressive and technical nature of the record opting for high drama with symphonic elements, massive peaks and valleys instrumentally and utterly brutal breakdowns. “Layers of Skin” utilizes quick paced palm-muted riffs and frenetic drum patterns with various tempo switch-ups to ascertain a modern hardcore vibe with more technical flairs and additional attitude. Long released single “Sungazer” is a straight-up shredder with insane pace and a Soilwork-esque chorus that utilizes blast beats with Graham unbridling a massive melodic hook over the chaos. Deep cut “Demon Queen” borrows from the book of Chelsea Grin with deep-rooted chugged riffs that feel astronomic in potency coupled with crazy guitar leads, massive vocal hooks and a disastrously disgusting (in the best way possible) breakdown to top it all off. The array of stylings leaves this record void of filler, just a bunch of killer heaviness.
Jaime Graham as a vocalist is underrated to say the least. His range is comparable to some of the best this genre has the offer with seismic lows, stunning highs and a very versatile yelled/screamed clean style in his back pocket to complement the extreme nature of Viscera’s music. Graham will occasionally burst out a pig squeal or haunting guttural during those intense breakdowns and my god, the timbre of his delivery is so potent and earth-shattering, it really blows my mind that he isn’t the face of the scene with his vocal capacity.
Paying attention to the quality of lyrics in heavy music is sort of like watering a house plant that is engulfed in flames, it’s sort of pointless. I generally will read them as an afterthought just to see if there’s anything substantial and I can relay that Viscera don’t write bad lyrics, simply lyrics that don’t tread new ground but fit the vibe and fury of the music that they pertain to. Often ranging from stories related to mythology to violent imagery to dealing with pain and agony, Viscera explores the entire death metal poetic smorgasbord.
Overall, I’m confident in saying that Viscera have topped themselves with even better songs and more technically insane passages of music. Each track offers a bit of a unique identity while still connecting and allowing for cohesive transitions. This is one of those bands that I feel should have a spotlight on them because what they bring to the table is a cut above the rest and matches the energy, skill and execution that the top names in the scene bring. Hope y’all enjoy and check these guys out!
“Layers of Skin”
“On Earth as it is in Hell”