Viatrophy - Viatrophy
Release Date: June 15th
Record Label: Siege Of Amida Records/Candlelight USA
"In a scene saturated with over-produced and uninspired bands" is a line from death metal band Viatrophy's MySpace profile. First, I am glad they think this, and second, I'm glad they have chosen to do something about this. With their second album, the UK death metal band have released a shining light in what seems to be a slowly dying genre. I use the term death metal very loosely, as this album is almost as creative as it gets, fusing -core aspects, ambient melodies and progressive sections to create a whole new death metal experience.
The album opens with an ambient, melodic and mellow instrumental introduction track entitled "Lux E Tenebris." The whole atmosphere of this is torn open by the pure aggression and speed of the instruments and Adam Mayes' aggressive roars in "Mistress of Misery." This track is the first track released off of the album, and anybody who has heard it has a pretty good blueprint as to what the rest of the album will sound like.
A few track's later, as you start to get settled in, you're greeted by the mellow acoustic intro "Eternal Darkness" (or "The Ethereal Darkness" as other places have labeled it). This again is torn apart by Mayes' raw vocals and magnificent riffs and tight drumming from Craig Reynolds. One of my favourite riffs from this album is at 1:58 in this song. This showcases exactly how original the band can write. A few moments later, queue the breakdown. It's a melodic breakdown of sorts, fusing raw, aggressive chugging and melodic lead lines. This is where the band's potential is shown most: in the change-overs from speedy riffs to the heaviest of breakdowns, which are made far less cliché the addition of something extra, something far more interesting.
Now skipping a few tracks, one of which is an interlude - which I'm sure could have been replaced with another track, rather than filler material - conveying their ambient side, we get to one of my personal favourites, "Sufferance," an uptempo, exciting beast of a song that clocks in at 3:06, the shortest non-instrumental track. With creative guitars from both John Jones and Gurneet Ahluwallia, they do nothing but compliment each other.
Another one of my personal favourites, "Futile Prayer" is up next. This song is extremely well written, both hard hitting and emotional. Melodic lead guitar lines over breakdowns and clean, epic bridges all come together to punch you in the face with some blast beats laid down by Reynolds and tremolo picking from Jones and Ahluwallia.
Now I don't know how this compares to their previous release (an EP titled Chronicles), but to be quite honest, I don't care. This album is amazing (bar one track"The Final Light," which has some really good moments, but overall nowhere near on the level of the rest of the album). It is deserving of the title Viatrophy as this is their sound, which I really hope will only get better with the next release. For a roller coaster of an album, some tight and raw production from Fortress Studios (SikTh, Johnny Truant), and some original musicianship, this is definitely worth checking out!