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Viscera/// - "Cyclops" (CD)

Viscera/// - "Cyclops" CD cover image

"Cyclops" track listing:

1. Focus: The First Eye (2:18)
2. Keep On Bluesing Through The Stars (12:20)
3. Iris Overburden (9:51)
4. Shape Of God (3:38)
5. Few Years To Live (7:13)
6. White Flies Might Rule The World (7:53)
7. Titan (7:51)

Reviewed by on August 15, 2008

"It isn’t long before the psychedelic notions start to pop up and it becomes apparent that “Cyclops” isn’t the average devastatingly brutal metal album. "

Originally bursting onto the metal scene as a goregrind outfit, Viscera/// has shattered the boundaries of grindcore with their first full length album, choosing to incorporate heavy elements of drone, rock, and experimental ambience into their music. “Cyclops” frequently takes detours and goes to completely unexpected places without ever losing sight of the intended destination, keeping all of the vastly different elements present tightly wound together so that they never work against each other or sound out of place. Overtones of grindcore still show up, especially in the vocals, but they are swept into the maelstrom of cosmic melody in the same manner as all of the other attributes of the album, used as just another means of expressing the dream-like state the album attempts to emulate.

“Cyclops” starts off with ambient noise that gives the impression of some strange machine being turned on or a celestial gateway being opened up, which then gets sucked into an absurdly heavy cyclone of distorted guitars and overwhelming drums. It isn’t long before the psychedelic notions start to pop up and it becomes apparent that “Cyclops” isn’t the average devastatingly brutal metal album. At over twelve minutes in length, the second song, “Bluesing Through The Stars,” takes plenty of time to go on a distant journey, dragging the listeners along and letting them know what sort of unexpected things to start expecting in the rest of the tracks. While the guitar parts aren’t every particularly complex or technical, the droning way they are played coupled with the constantly changing styles of distortion used gives a massively spaced out sensation, something like what it might feel like to float bodiless through the heavens and watch as all of the wonders and terrors of the universe pass by. The song’s minute and a half long ending clinches the otherworldly impression by retaining the same general theme evident while spurting in slightly different musical directions and then coming right back where it started again, like some sort of beautiful heavenly phenomena that drives men mad because of its unknowable properties and purposes.

The song “Iris Overburden,” keeps the disturbingly heavily distorted sound of the opening segments of the album, but allows the guitars to meander into a more upbeat rock style. The whole album frequently melds traditional metal elements into excruciatingly heavy extreme parts to reinforce the feeling that listening to the album is like floating along a dreamscape, allowing the dream to go where it will, whether that be into extreme unpleasantness, immense bliss, or somewhere in between. In several instances the screaming grind vocals are also dropped in favor of slightly muted clean vocals that are hazy and indistinct, as though they were coming from some far off place. A large portion of the album doesn’t use vocals of either variety at all, with two full songs passing along while nary a word is spoken. The lack of singing or screaming allows the instruments to create a ponderous and inquisitive mood, prompting thoughts about the universe and the listener’s place within it.

The debut full length album by Viscera/// is a catastrophically heavy acid trip that ventures into territory most other metal won’t even touch. Anyone ready to take a serious trip should ignite “Cyclops” and prepare for blast off.

Highs: Extremely heavy guitars and imaginative experimental ambience

Lows: A few of the sound effects used in the album are a little jarring

Bottom line: A catastrophically heavy acid trip to ponder the nature of existence to.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)