If you’re going to portray yourself as a symphonic death metal act – and you at least want to stand out from the crowd – you’d better bring a massive sense of theatricality, a shit tonne of atmosphere and a penchant for crushing death metal tempered by orchestral flourishes. Basically, a skin-crawling, hairs on the back of your neck raising, heavy metal overload is required and anything less will be a crushing disappointment!
Fortunately, Vivisepulture‘s Omen begins with an intriguing instrumental piece, ably capturing your attention with a fearsome sense of dynamics and that all important theatricality; ostensibly priming the listener for what, is expected, to be a formidable symphonic death metal release.
Alas, things don’t quite go to plan but Omen‘s initial high expectations are not without merit.
Significantly, Omen is as much a melodic death metal album as it is a symphonic one, with the likes of Engel and In Flames proving considerable influences and it’s this semi-confused sense of identity that perhaps hampers Vivisepulture, purportedly thwarting a good album from becoming a great album.
“King Of Restless Souls” is a blast (literally) of brass instruments, parping with pomp and ceremony before getting suitably medieval on our asses with fluctuating tempos, hammer-blow riffing and battle metal grandeur. It’s a great fucking track which delivers all you expect from symphonic death metal!
Contradictively, the likes of “To Stone” can then be a little too ‘In Flames’ for comfort – erring on the melodic death metal side far more than the symphonic – although album highlight, “Christ Of The Abyss”, then re-addreses the balance by recalling the quintessential symphonic ‘black metal’ work of Shagrath and Silenoz and clearly marking out Vivisepulture as a band with potential.
Of course, this is big, bold symphonic/melodic death metal so clean vocals are expected. Do they deliver? Just about, with a relatively rich baritone offering a grandiose respite from the growls but, as is normally the case in this genre, Vivisepulture are at their best when operating at their heaviest!
Omen is suitably solid stuff from a band who may be a long way off the glorious splendour of Septic Flesh, Dimmu Borgir or even Aeternum, but are still packing a big enough punch to knock-out death metal (particularly melodic death metal) fanatics with one blow! 6/10
Vivisepulture’s Omen is set for release on March 18th and will be released independently via all listening platforms including Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp, etc.