posted on 11/2009 By:
England's Viatrophy ply a modern death metal trade, furious and ultimately not resonant. Hints of melody emerge amidst their frantic tech-y riffage, adding a Black Dahlia Murder/The Absence feel to their generic-but-bruising The Eyes Of A Traitor-like technical deathcore approach. As well as Viatrophy can play, they lack the ability to write a truly killer song—nothing on hand is memorable, masterful or anything more than middle-of-the-pack.
Opening with "Lux E Tenebris," a mournful and symphonic instrumental introduction, Viatrophy begins proper with the chugging "Mistress Of Misery," which exhibits all the solid but unfortunately second-hand traits of the entire record. Tight-but-interchangeable rhythmic riffs sit beneath frantic lead work and Adam Mayes’ dueling vocals (high rasp and low growl, a la Trevor Strnad). "Seas Of Storms" digresses into a clean-guitar-driven dreamy bit before a semi-epic melodic section, and with both of those, that spacey moment and then that brief flirtation with straight melodeath, all of Viatrophy’s cards are on the table. Stylistically if not exactly, some sections repeat here and there, with varying degrees of success but never quite stepping out from the shadows to grab the listener and not let go. On the positive side, both "The Ethereal Darkness" and "Futile Prayers" feature some destructive riffage before each, like all their peers, falls into interchangeable single-note chugging and/or generic modern-death leanings. But those moments are far too few to salvage the record from the land of "listen once and forget."
Fans of the modern death metal purveyed by all the bands I mentioned in the first paragraph will likely find this listenable, perhaps even enjoyable at times, but all told, what’s on hand has been done before and better. Myself, I find this neither particularly interesting nor inexcusable, and regardless of those, it is decidedly inessential.
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