ALBUM REVIEW: Strigoi – Viscera


 

In 2010 following the death of his father, Paradise Lost’s founding guitar player and principle songwriter Gregor Mackintosh formed Vallenfyre with Hamish Glencross (ex-My Dying Bride). The aim was to provide an outlet for his grief by recording the heavier black / death metal-influenced music he had been writing, with Gregor also on vocal duties, a role he had never performed in Paradise Lost. In 2018 after three albums Gregor announced the project had come to a close, but from the ashes rose Strigoi, formed with Vallenfyre bassist Chris Casket (Devilment, ex Extreme Noise Terror), which would continue in a similar vein with 2019’s debut album Abandon All Faith.

Named after the Romanian mythological troubled spirits who rise from the grave, Strigoi release their second album Viscera (Season Of Mist). Written by Gregor and Chris during the pandemic after their plans to tour were put on ice, recording finished in Oct 2021 at London’s Orgone Studio, home to producer Jaime Gomez Arellano (Cathedral / Ghost), before being mixed by the legendary Kurt Ballou (Converge) at his God City Studio on the US east coast.

Unsurprisingly, Viscera sounds absolutely fucking great; and musically picks up right where their debut left off, featuring ten tracks of heavily old-school influenced Blackened Doom-laden deathly metal, which is thoroughly bleak and dismal from start to finish.

To its credit Viscera does not stick to the same formula on each of its songs. Far from it in fact, with noticeable changes of pace throughout which make the listening experience highly enjoyable and an intriguing journey through the darkness – when the record provides slow and ponderous doomy moments, with Gregor’s vocals a deep, guttural growl, the lyrics are still easy to pick up on. On ‘United In Viscera’ he snarls lines such as, “I shed this human skin… Solace in suffering … we are alone”, while we hear snippets of his trademark lead guitar work, snaking over the infectious riffing. Other doomy highlights are found with the lengthy album closer ‘Iron Lung’, where his off-key sounding leads drip over the distortion in places, as it does on the tempestuous ‘Bathed In A Black Sun’ with its alluring and infectious down-tuned riff.

 

Elsewhere the record indulges a more furious pace, notably on the lyrically satanic ‘King Of All Terror’, where pure traditional death metal meets hardcore, as well as on the thrash infused ‘Napalm Frost’. And the mood of the record is really summed up quite nicely in ‘A Begotten Son’, which tonally is thoroughly sinister and macabre.

Viscera is absolutely crammed full of absorbing, chugging guitar riffs which is no surprise given the man involved and is a fine addition to Gregor Mackintosh’s catalogue and a continuation of his work over the last decade as he has clearly been focusing on the heavier music of his roots.

Buy the album here: https://shop.season-of-mist.com/list/strigoi-viscera

 

8 / 10

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