Review: Viscera – Obsidian

One year ago a new band was formed: Viscera. Viscera doesn’t consist of beginners though: ex-Heart of a Coward/ex-Sylosis vocalist Jamie Graham is frontman, ex-Abhorrent Decimation’s David Archer plays bass guitar, ex-Abhorrent Decimation’s/ex-Martyr Defiled’s/Perversion’s Alex Micklewright drums and guitarists are ex-Abhorrent Decimation’s Ross McLennan and Adam Bell, of whom I couldn’t find any other (former) band. On March the 6th they released their debut album, titled Obsidian, via Unique Leader Records.

Obsidian‘s album opener Delilah starts with a piano-intro with guitars and drums being added soon to build up tension and finally, when Jamie adds his vocals, explodes in a brutal wall of sound. However, pounding brutally isn’t the only thing Viscera does, we’ll also hear a lot of technicality, especially guitar-wise, but their music also contains quite some melody. Viscera surely found a nice balance in this. They not only show a lot of variation in terms of the aforementioned things, but they also do so with quite some rhythm-changes, without deviating too much from their basics.

The variation on Obsidian is, for a big part, also coming from the vocals. Jamie shows a lot of variation in his vocals: he screams, such as in Affliction and Hammers and Nails, he grunts, such as in Lamb to the Slaughter and Obsidian, he delivers clean vocals, such as in Delilah and Carpe Noctem, and sometimes he delivers some grunty whispers, such as in Affliction and Obsidian. In addition to Jamie’s vocals this album also includes three guest vocalists: Bound in Fear’s Ben Mason can be heard on Immersed in Ire, while Osiah’s Ricky Lee Roper and Brand of Sacrifice’s Kyle Anderson both contributed to album closer Silentium.

It seems to me that the focus within Viscera’s music is mostly targeted on the vocals as well as the guitars, which have a very nice, firm sound, but also do sound a bit more atmospheric at some moments. This can for example be heard in some parts of Carpe Noctem and Affliction, which have a bit of an atmospheric layer at some moments, while grooving and pounding very heavily at the same time. Affliction also sounds quite chaotic, in a good way, at some moments.

As I mentioned before Viscera shows a lot of variation on Obsidian without deviating too much from their basics. In my opinion they should bring some more variation to one specific part of those basics though and that’s about Alex’ drums. I am not speaking about all of his drums, but only about the cymbals. To me, those sound a bit monotonous, but are still quite loud in the album’s mix. For a few examples of this, be sure to listen to Delilah and Immersed in Ire.

Delilah, as mentioned before Obsidian‘s opening song, also seems to sound a bit more flat compared to the other songs on this album.

So, I have a few points of criticism, but all in all Viscera delivered a very strong debut album with Obsidian!

Here you can read our live review of Decapitated, Beyond Creation, Ingested, Lorna Shore and Viscera at Doornroosje, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, while you can read our interview with Viscera’s Jamie Graham and Adam Bell here.

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