Demon Head - Viscera review

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Band: Demon Head
Album: Viscera
Release date: January 2021

01. Tooth And Nail
02. The Feline Smile
03. Arrows
04. Magical Death
05. The Lupine Choir
06. A Long, Groaning Descent
07. In Adamantine Chains
08. Black Torches
09. Wreath
10. The Triumphal Chariot Of Antimony

The moodiest of moods.

Viscera is one of those records that is heavily impacted by which kind of mood the listener is in. At least that's how I felt after I gave this three listens. The thing is, I enjoyed my first listen of this record quite a bit. That being said, the subsequent listens kind of tempered those first feelings. That's also due to a couple of other reasons, but I'll dive into those in a minute.

As always (or most of the time), let's start off with the production. It's a bit of a mixed bag. The guitars sound very distinct; think of them as a sword that looks blunt, but when you actually touch it there's still some raw sharpness to it. It's a double-edged sword though in this case. I think their production style fits with what they are going for; however, the drums and bass don't get enough distinction in the mix because of the over-prominence of the guitars. It's like trying to have a normal conversation while that one guy (the guitars) is constantly shouting next to you. You can still hear most of the other people, but there's that one factor that dominates in terms of noise levels. The vocals are mixed in well, so no complaints there.

The music itself? It's good music for the most part. This album creates a dark and very moody atmosphere. This, combined with the dramatic delivery of the vocals, creates a cohesive sound. You're waiting for a "but" aren't you? Well, there's a big one actually. I feel like the vocals sometimes get too dramatic, and that there could have been done more to diversify the listening experience. Don't get me wrong, the vocals are rock-solid, but they feel too much of the same. And that's something the music suffers from as well to a smaller extent. Cohesive overall, but a bit monotonous as well, unfortunately.

Well, this is the moment where I get back to the point I have made earlier. I did enjoy my first listen of Viscera. But why? I have to confess that on my first listen I was using it as background music. And truth be told, it works perfectly for that. It's good atmospheric background music. Unfortunately, on my second and third listen (not as background music), my initial liking started to cool off a bit. Not to the point that we've reached deep freezer level of enjoyment, but it was still a noticeable drop. It just couldn't captivate as much as I had hoped for, which for an atmospheric album is probably a bigger flaw than it is for a standard album. This is simply because an album like Viscera relies on it delivering one big engaging ride. Once it starts to lose your attention, chances are they're not going to get it back; you're out of the zone at that point. In contrast, a dud on a traditional record can be picked up by the next song.

So where does that leave us? It's not bad by all means. Like I said, I quite liked it as background music. However, when I put my full attention to it, I started seeing some of this album's flaws more clearly. Things like the production and the slightly monotone feel of the songs started to bother me a bit. This doesn't give you a bad time, but I don't see myself returning to this in the future.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Production: 5


Written on 20.03.2021 by You know I'm right, you just haven't realised it yet...

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