Season Of Mist
rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. United In Viscera
02. King of All Terror
03. An Ocean of Blood
04. Napalm Frost
05. Hollow
06. A Begotten Son
07. Bathed in a Black Sun
08. Byzantine Tragedy
09. Redeemer
10. Iron Lung

Morbidity will not be stopped. Despite digging deep into death metal's well of odium with VALLENFYRE for three widely acclaimed albums, PARADISE LOST guitarist Greg Mackintosh still wanted to go deeper and darker. As showcased on 2019 debut "Abandon All Faith", STRIGOI take that crestfallen, crusty vision to new extremes, and "Viscera" is an even more startling expression of that noble, nihilistic scheme.

Equally comfortable at berserker speed and excruciating snail's pace, STRIGOI spend most of their second album methodically stirring their infernal cauldron, with riffs that snake with mounting menace and a collective penchant for heavy-handed, caveman delivery. "King of All Terror" and "Napalm Frost" are unapologetic moments of savagery, with as much punk and post-punk in the riffs and grooves as there is death metal, while "Redeemer" is like some unhinged amalgam of VENOM and AMEBIX, with extra blastbeats and a heart of infinite darkness. STRIGOI really start to wield some serious power when they embrace slower tempos, however. "An Ocean of Blood" is a pitiless, doom-drenched march through humanity's disgrace; "Hollow" is the sound of a giant boot stamping on all our faces for the rest of time; "Byzantine Tragedy" is grandiloquent and hypnotic, the austere violence of early SWANS welded to the razor-slash grotesquery of AUTOPSY's "Mental Funeral".

If all of that doesn't crush your spirit, in the best possible way, "Iron Lung" will definitely finish you off. With Mackintosh delivering his despondent poetry via some truly astonishing growls, the album's closing track is a jaw-dropper: eight minutes of suppurating, slow-burn majesty, it is both horrifying and emotionally tumultuous.

There are plenty of bands out there preaching a morbid, malevolent code, but few make music that resounds with this much sincerity. STRIGOI may simply be a necessary outlet for Greg Mackintosh's more brutal instincts, but it has already mutated into something much more impressive. "Viscera" is occasionally grueling and unremittingly intense, but it's also wonderfully honest and true. Only death is real, in case you were wondering.

Author: Dom Lawson
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