Review: “Obsidian” by Viscera

If they’re not already on your radar, then here’s what you need to know about Viscera. In their ranks are members and former members of Heart Of A Coward, Sylosis, Nervecell, Surfaces, Martyr Defiled and Abhorrent Decimation in vocalist Jamie Graham, guitarist Ross McLennan, bassist David Archer, drummer Alex Micklewright and guitarist Adam Bell. As experienced players they formed the band early in 2019 and inspired by the likes of The Black Dahlia Murder, At The Gates and Decapitated have formulated a sound that takes the best of Technical Death Metal and Deathcore and throws them in a witches cauldron with their previous work. They’ve also managed to get in a trio of guest vocalists via Jamie Graham’s work for Unique Leader Records and so if the pre-release singles are anything to go by, this should be a treat, Mixed and Mastered by Michael Leo Valeri (Brand of Sacrifice, The Afterimage).

The piano work that brings in “Delilah” sets the tone with a classic haunting sound before Viscera rip and tear their way through climbing Technical Death Metal riffs with stuccato breaks and blast beats. There is an instant comparison between what Viscera are doing now and what Jamie Graham did with the early Sylosis records and he proves that he still has some jaw dropping vocal range throughout. If you were a fan of those albums and this is going to be something you’re going to be interested in. “Immersed in Ire” features the first guest appearance on the album with Ben Mason of Bound in Fear, Pintglass & Sunfall dropping some Slam infused vocals on the track. It’s not the balls out brutality that his presence on the track perhaps suggests, instead opting for some light and shade with in amongst the Deathcore riff attack. For example there is a glorious clean vocal line around the 78 second mark as the music drops out to build up again and a spoken word part that depicts a nightmare of liars and thieves. The Currents esq Super Mario style solo part is just immense. First single “Lamb to the Slaughter” appeared as a warning shot four months before the album appeared as a whole and is a stand out cut. The depths of the lyrics “One taste of power and you’ll savour the game, And you’ll deny your heart to justify the pain, A hatred so misplaced, A mask to hide your face, I’ll cry for you no more behind the iron doors” is something we’ve heard from Jamie Graham previously and if they are pointed at Josh Middleton who seemingly axed him from Sylosis then that would be understandable. The track has a lot going on musically with haunting eerie synths and some impressive vocal range on show, not to mention some of the incredible syncopation.

Carpe Noctem” or “Seize The Night” continues the journey to hell with galloping Techincal Death Metal riffs that break down into Deathcore before building back up with energy and urgency in classical style. The choral work delivering the title of the song lifts it and gives it the feeling of a single as it stands apart from the pack. Diving back in with “Affliction” which has some breakneck headbang moments and a gang chant moment as it blazes through like stampeding buffalo from hell, leaving a trail of fire behind them, Viscera build in a rapid fire DJent riff moment and Graham finds new depths to his vocal capabilities. “Hammers and Nails” brings back the synth introduction and some pummeling Impending Doom esq kit work from Micklewright as Graham asks the question “are you the hammer or the nail?“. The phenomenal amount of ideas shoe horned into the album as a whole, let along this track, can only mean this project has serious legs, if they have the opportunity to continue with it and that can only be a good thing.

Aching piano and orchestral sounds bring in the cinematic soundscape of “Lilith” that conjurers images of waves crashing on a shore in the darkest of night before the programmed beats and a mesmerizing lead riff take hold. The track serves as an introduction piece to the album title track “Obsidian“. A naturally occurring volcanic glass formed of as an extrusive igneous rock when flesic lava from a volcano rapidly cools, they are often shaped into stones that are said to have truth enhancing and strongly protective qualities that form a shield, absorbing and blocking out negativity. Graham calls for an Obsidian tide to carry him away to a better life with a flourish of hateful, venomous lyrics as he clearly has bitterness and disdain in his heart for someones actions towards him. Musically the track is a stand out that summarizes the album as a whole with wave after wave of riffs with little nuances and some well placed synths. Closer “Silentium” features guest vocals from both Kyle Anderson of Brand of Sacrifice and Earthshatter as well as Ricky Lee Roper of Osiah and after it’s melancholic opening it offers a Technical Deathcore thunderbolt with each vocalist getting his turn to smash down walls that surround them with the power of their voices. The haunting quality of this final cut gives everything an epic feel and by the end of the record, it’s something you’ll want to listen to again [9/10]

Track listing

  1. Delilah
  2. Immersed in Ire (ft. Ben Mason of Bound in Fear, Pintglass & Sunfall)
  3. Lamb to the Slaughter
  4. Carpe Noctem
  5. Affliction
  6. Hammers and Nails
  7. Lilith
  8. Obsidian
  9. Silentium (ft. Kyle Anderson of Brand of Sacrifice and Earthshatter, Ricky Lee Roper of Osiah)

Obsidian” by Viscera is out now via Unique Leader Records

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