Review Summary: To Be a Hammer or a Nail
“It's no surprise your life is ***ing heading south,
It's hard to smell the roses with all that *** in your mouth.”
A band as brutal, energetic and potent as Viscera is a perfect example of a heavy band incorporating lighter elements into chaos seamlessly. Jaime Graham’s recognizable and versatile delivery melding with the machine gun-esque drum patterns and guitar wonkery is something special and to top it all off, the songs are pretty damn solid as well. Finding ways to showcase instrumental skill often comes with the byproduct of bad songwriting that forgets to create ebbs and flows and focuses too heavily on said skills. Viscera, while still discovering their sound and approach, for the most part can write interesting tunes with hooky choruses and brutal breakdowns while integrating some wilder moments for those instrumental purists.
Finding a heavy band that sounds a bit different is no easy task in this oversaturated market of copycats and bandwagoners. Viscera, who definitely borrow from their influences and former bands, seem to find a way to sound a bit fresh compared to those that they are lumped together with. The ambience that lines the background of these songs, whether it be orchestral elements, complementary synthesizer melodies or Kemper guitar effects, adds a lot of personality and depth to songs that could be described as a bit stale without them. And when the times comes for a breakdown, abandoning those vibey elements helps to increase the power and shock factor of that breakdown. The perfect example is in the song “Immersed in Ire” which features the immense talents of Ben Mason. Right before the climactic breakdown, the song is entrenched in a massive soundscape filled with background noise and quickly transitions to just drums, guitar and bass and the drop hits so hard that it knocks me on my ass harder than my daddy ever could.
I think it’s fair to say that the record doesn’t deviate far from its initial formula of big riffs, hard breakdowns, crazy instrumentals which isn’t a bad thing but does feel like it could use a bit more in certain aspects. A song like “Affliction” is a nice deviation from the rest of the track list because of its very djenty breakdown pattern. “Silentium” features a more proggy song structure and has a couple of really great features to elevate the track even further. To reiterate, I really don’t mind the album being a bit “samey” at times because the style the band doubles down on is super energetic and fun to listen to.
This debut record certainly establishes Viscera as a force to be reckoned with even without needing to unveil their entire book of tricks. Considering the wide variety of influences that each member brings to the table, Viscera is able to combine different ideas and styles to create something that is familiar yet nuanced enough to make things a bit extra interesting.
“Immersed In Ire”
“Lamb to The Slaughter”