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Strigoi – Viscera Award winner

Strigoi
Viscera
by Thomas Kumke at 05 December 2022, 5:40 AM

STRIGOI hailing from Suffolk, UK were formed in 2018 by PARADISE LOST and former VALLENFYRE mastermind Greg Macintosh and bassist Chris Casket (ex-VALLENFYRE, ex-EXTREME NOISE TERROR). The word “strigoi” originates from the Romanian mythology and describes troubled spirits that have risen from the grave. The Crust Punk and Death Metal outfit release with “Viscera” their second full-length album, and it was recorded at Oregon Studios, produced by Jamie Gomez and STRIGOI, mixed by Kurt Ballou (IRON REAGAN; NAIL) at Godcity Studios, and mastered by Brad Boatright (CORROSION OF CONFORMITY; IRON REAGAN; GATECREEPER) at Audiosiege. It has a length of almost 47 minutes, and it was released via French label Season Of Mist which has a lot of Black, Death, and Progressive Metal bands among their current roster.

The album starts with the grim and atmospheric “United In Viscera” at a sluggish tempo with at times a stomping rhythm. The guitar riffing is powerful and so are the growling vocals ranging from the low to medium end of the guttural range. The melodies are doom-laden and the lead guitars provide a blood-freezing atmosphere. Not surprisingly, some of the melodic parts have an early PARADISE LOST signature, however, the melancholic melodies are mixed up with a lot of aggression by some of the riffing and the vocals. “United In Viscera” is a very strong opening track. “King Of All Terror” is a very different track in many aspects. Opposite to the almost seven minutes opener, it just hits the two and a half minutes mark. Despite the short length, there is more complexity and twists in tempo and rhythm. It starts as an aggressive hammering and transitions over this short period almost seamlessly into the slow approach of “United In Viscera”. The sound also transition in the same way as it starts as Death Metal assault and ends as a Doom Metal inspired track. “An Ocean Of Blood” starts with a dark atmospheric part by the guitars, which are joined by low growls soon. The guitar riffing is powerful, tight, and has some kind of catchiness. The tempo is slow, and the rhythm has a few twists. The lead guitars provide a grim atmosphere and are the backbone of the track. “An Ocean Of Blood” is the official video release, and the YouTube link is given below.

Napalm Frost” is a Death Metal pummeling with plenty of blast-beats, crunching bass lines, and a few Hardcore vibes in the riffing. It is a short, very direct and aggressive track, but again, it comes with changes in tempo and rhythm starting from blistering pace towards a more mid-tempo track. “Hollow” starts with a dark cinematic intro, which is joined by the lead guitars introducing the doomy melodic framework of the track. The guitar riffing and the bass lines are crushing at a pounding rhythm. “Hollow” has a grim atmosphere for most parts of the track, but there is also a bludgeoning middle part with a blast-beat thunderstorm at insane pace. Besides all the excellent guitar work and drumming, “Hollow” impresses with the mighty roar of the vocals. “Hollow” is one of my album highlights. “A Begotten Son” continues with the darkness and with another blast-beat onslaught at the beginning of the track. The song has a lot of changes in tempo, ranging from high pace to mid-tempo and a measured pace at times. “A Begotten Son” is one of those songs that do not focus on gloom and doom in the sound, opposite to “Bathed In A Black Sun”. The guitar riffing is very powerful, there is a lot of grim atmospheres in the background by the lead guitars and a background choir. The rhythm is stomping, and the vocals come into their own in those songs. For me, “Bathed In A Black Sun” is another album highlight.

Byzantine Tragedy” starts with an orchestral intro provided by the brass and the darkness of the sound continues with the guitars where the lead guitars and the background sound are the focal atmospheric points. The tempo is once again sluggish, which intensifies the freezing atmosphere. Besides the lead guitars, the drums are driving the song forward. “Byzantine Tragedy” is one of those songs that represent best the sound of STRIGOI. “Redeemer” is a very aggressive track with thunderous guitar riffing at mid-tempo with a few twists in tempo. It is one of those tracks that represent the other side of the STRIGOI sound towards a more direct and aggressive approach, but by maintaining the doomy components of the sound. The album finishes with “Iron Lung” and it starts with a long guitar intro. The blackened sound reminds me a lot on TRIPTYKON, and the final song is STRIGOI at its best with the powerful and dark riffing, the crunching bass lines, the grim atmosphere set up by the lead guitars, the slow tempo, and the perfectly fitting vocals. A great way to end the album.

The second album of STRIGOI is a masterclass of a doom-laden Death Metal sound. “Viscera” has all ingredients of an outstanding album: it has aggression, a blood-freezing atmosphere, a signature melodic sound framework, a perfect mixture of directness and complexity in the song structures, and a vocalist who keeps all the sound elements excellently together. STRIGOI are not afraid to experiment with different sound elements and influences, yet they have developed their very own unique sound. The album is very well produced. “Viscera” is a beast of an album and belongs to the album collection of every Doom and Death Metal fan.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. United In Viscera
2. King Of All Terror
3. An Ocean Of Blood
4. Napalm Frost
5. Hollow
6. A Begotten Son
7. Bathed In A Black Sun
8. Byzantine Tragedy
9. Redeemer
10. Iron Lung
Lineup:
Gregor Macintosh – Vocals, Guitars
Ben Ash – Guitars
Guido Zima – Drums
Chris Casket – Bass
Record Label: Season of Mist Records
     


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