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Viraemia is (or rather, was) a brutal technical death metal band combining inhuman technical wankery with crushing, slamming brutality, at the forefront of a movement consisting of very similar music in the death metal underground. Their sole release, the self-titled EP, demonstrates in five monstrous tracks what they and their music are all about. While the record is a mere 19 minutes, Viraemia packs in enough brutal riffs and pathological melodies to sicken an experienced mortician. Viraemia succeeds in creating uber technical death metal where many have failed. While some bands, such as Brain Drill and the likes, display superhuman guitar acrobatics and relentless drilling blast beats, they all eventually suffer monotony that essentially dominates anything of interest their music has to offer. Viraemia’s EP makes it clear that they are unique in this regard, not forfeiting variety for endless and gimmicky super-technicality. They create songs that have memorable melodies and riffs and don’t blur into a tedious amorphous blob of monotonous malarkey. While many tech-death bands are extremely talented, the problem is merely the lack of variety, distinction, and memorability in their songwriting. In this way, Viraemia’s self-titled EP is a masterpiece. Of course, this is not quite the case, as will be delineated.
It is quite clear, as you listen to this EP, that the guitars dominate almost all of the music. Guitarist Josh Hernandez shows that he is a master of supersonic twelve-string tapping, and to be painfully honest, that really is all this band had going for it. Not to say the other members were untalented. The bassist, Scott Plummer, was just as skilled; playing almost everything the guitarist did, but never really shining beyond the guitarist’s sonic shadow. The drummer, Michael Collins, similarly demonstrates a fair bit of skill, providing the standard blast beats so required of the rapid rhythms, but it isn’t hard to forget about the drums whilst listening through the EP. The vocalist is probably the only member to really show through the guitar heavy mix, screaming, growling, and squealing through virtually every second of every song. Tony Martinez exhibits significant prowess in his vocal work, vomiting vicious screams, guttural growls, and even inhaled squeals that are quite decent and fitting. All in all, this was a proficient group of tech-death musicians, but the guitars continued to be the centre of attention, something like the main attraction in this circus show of fantastical death metal extremity and technical insanity.
Most of their songs follow a similar structure – start with a crazy technical riff that will serve as the “chorus”, if you could call it that, filled with as many taps, sweeps, and other breakneck-speed diminished manipulations that can be fit in thirty seconds. Each song will at some point slow to a slamming breakdown that then transitions back into the “chorus” and then continues on through the song. The chorus repeats several times, as might the breakdown, with more technical riffs to fill the parts in between. Though the music is largely formulaic, it still works because their riffs are so good. They are catchy and memorable while still being utterly and purely metal. However the one flaw throughout the record is how repetitive it can get. For example, the first track, “Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation”, starts off with their “chorus” of sorts. It sounds great and in some way is catchy, but by the time they play it again less than a minute later in the song, it starts to get really tiring and soon enough you are just waiting for the song to finally end. Nonetheless Viraemia makes up for it with brilliant riffs and a unique sense of variety. Each song is distinct and leaves its own virulent impression on the listener.
Viraemia’s brutal and technical style is only part of the overall “pathological” music. The lyrics are particularly sickening and infection filled, dealing with the absolute sickest matters of disease and decay. The Carcass-esque medical approach to their lyrics is done quite well. In fact is it is difficult to fathom quite how one could take such words and so well utter them in harmony with the rest of the music, let alone enunciate to the degree of quality that the vocalist does.
Overall, Viraemia were in some respects a group of technical death metal geniuses, each member at the peak of skill, and each song of their EP a demonstration of ingenuity, proficiency, and creativity in a diseased vein of decimating brutality and inhuman technicality. Now and again some of their riffs are repeated ad nauseum. The bass and drums are frequently drowned out by the ruthless guitars. The “pathological” style of super-technicality sometimes comes off as gimmicky, but the variety and virtuosity of the music makes up for it and makes Viraemia truly stand out amongst the crowd.
Ok, this is my first review here on Metallum. As a reader, I think that is easier to write positive reviews than negative ones, so I chose one of the records I love the most in my favourite metal subgenre, technical death metal.
Viraemia is a four-pieces from Phoenix and they play "pathologic" death metal. Nowadays, when a metal band invents new subgenres on their own, you can be pretty sure that they're too self confident guys that play standard stuff with some cool ideas, but this is not the case. Once you've listened to this EP it'll be clear that the definition of "pathologic" is truly appropriate. It's not just the lyrical theme, revolving around the most horrendous disease you could ever think of, it's the music itself: I bet that you've never heard something THIS sick (in the literal meaning of the term). It's like you're listening to billions of infected cells corroding your flesh to the bone and eating your brain, driving you insane, it sounds exactly like the sountrack of a lethal pathology making its way to your vital organs, and I'm not exaggerating.
This unique sensation is created through an inconceivable amount of technique, combined with a cold, emotionless, surgical songwriting (very appropriate to the lyrical concept). That said, however, the songs have a really basic structure and that is, I think, what makes this EP a masterpiece. This stuff is even more technical that Brain Drill's or Monumental Torment's, but unlike those two bands (that I also enjoy) it's not "jerking off at unbelievable speed with no goal". In "Viraemia", skills are there for the music and not vice versa.
In most of the songs guitarist Josh Hernandez sweeps and shreds like crazy, with unbelievable speed and precision, showing no emotion at all in his guitar parts made of atonal, lightning-fast scales, while sometimes he slows down to deliver some bone-crushing slams. Vocalist Tony Martinez is a beast and one of the main highlights of the albums. He is versatile as hell, effortlessly switching between harsh screams and low-pitched growls while delivering some pig squeals or gutturals. His voice is really something that exceeds tech death standards. And here comes my favourite part: the rhytm section. Michael Collins is a young human drum-machine, whose blinding speed is evident both with hands and feet, while Scott Plummers is... well, there's no word that can sufficiently describe Scott and his ten-strings (!!!) monster. He has no problem in reproducing the guitar's sweeps and taps at the exact same speed, and has a lot of shining moments through the EP. You know Jeff Hughell, don't you? Ok, Scott's bass lines are probably harder than Jeff's. These four guys want to annihilate you with their emotionless, musically induced pathology and hell, they'll make it.
There are five songs on this record, for nineteen minutes of surgical madness. Every song has its special moments: think of Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation's bass intro, Cancrum Oris' twisted chorus (yep, you can call that a chorus!), Necrotizing Fascitiis' slamming and lethal breakdown... each and every song is memorable and marvelously composed & executed. Maybe the best one is Pit of Pestilence, I don't really know, the average level is too damn high.
Viraemia says no bullshit. They really play pathologic death metal. Put on the EP and let it consume you, feel the bacteria flowing in your body, hear your brain cells screaming in pain: you've never heard something this sick. Check it out now.
Fretboard acrobatics. That is the first thought that comes to mind to describe the generally frantic pace of the Phoenix-based technical brutal death metal band Viraemia. There is absolutely no doubt that these guys know their way around their instruments, as they are sweeping, plucking, sliding, scaling, blasting, and growling their asses off. Their self-titled and self-released EP, “Viraemia“, is filled with almost 19 minutes of pure technical carnage, most of all looking to get their infected hooks into fans of Origin, Anomalous, The Faceless, and Necrophagist as the majority of music tends to reside right in the overly-technical and ridiculous, even bordering on pointless guitar wankery. There are pieces of the five tracks where what the band is playing absolutely fits with everything perfectly, but every once in a while I’ll find that I’m beginning to tire of the intense mockery of normal physical implications that a human being is capable of.
While these musicians are no-doubt talented, it seems that some of the nearly-flawless and technical guitar work gets to be a bit much, and sometimes seems like they didn’t pay attention to some aspects of the song-writing or pacing other than to continuously build something around tapping scales. Not to take anything away from the band, as what they play seems to be very difficult to arrange and play. I believe that if Viraemia continue to not only work on their musical techniques, but also their abilities at being capable song-writers, then we will no doubt see them succeeding in the future while shredding their fingers to blisters.
Originally written for Metal Blast (http://www.metalblast.net/).
Viraemia are a technical death metal band from the USA that play wanky, fast technical death metal not unsimilar to Brain Drill. However, they have one thing that Brain Drill do not. Memorable songs. Technicality is all well and good, but if you can't make a coherent song that stays in a listener's mind, then you've failed. Viraemia have a very chaotic, yet somehow organised approach to tech death. Providing intense technical sweeping patterns, brutal slams reminiscent of Defeated Sanity, relentless crushing blast beats, complex 10 string basslines and a varied and visceral vocal assault, Viraemia are a unique band in a relatively un-unique genre.
Each song in this 5 track EP is essentially one long solo, with the guitarists cramming as many notes and sweeps into as little time as possible, save perhaps a small passage where the band will take a much needed break from all this crazy shredding and perform a devastating slam/breakdown, most notably in "Cancrum Oris". The best thing about all this noodling is how memorable it all is. You can listen to Brain Drill's entire discography, but nothing will stay in your mind. This album contains a number of things which you'll still be hearing in your head later on, be it a bass intro provided by 10 stringer (10 strings. 10 fucking strings) Scott Plummer in Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation, some of the same bassist's highly complex rhythms, the crushing slam in Cancrum Oris, or perhaps even some of the choruses like those found in Pit of Pestilence. Yes, that's right. Choruses. Catchy choruses that stay in your mind. That's always a good thing in a band of this style. If the drums aren't triggered, then Michael Collins has some serious stamina. The blasts are mind blowingly fast, and I daren't even begin to imagine what BPM they are. The vocals on this album, performed by Tony Martinez, are seriously remarkable and very diverse. Raspy screams, throaty low growls and some guttural shrieks/squeals (not BREE BREE pig squeals).
Of course, the very clear production will give many a reason to hate, accusing it of being "sterile", but honestly, this would be one of the rare cases I actually care that the production is quality. A messy and unclear production would definitely fail the album here, as everything needs to be heard clearly to truly understand just why this band are so unique.
Lyrics are about pathology/disease, and are quite reminiscent of goregrind to be perfectly honest. Incredibly brutal stuff to read (believe me, you need to read it) and quite refreshing when most modern bands are attempting amateurish Cannibal Corpse style horror movie gore.
Honestly, this is dazzling shit. The technical death metal scene is littered with bands trying to be like Necrophagist with 10,000x more shred, sacrificing memorability for technicality. Viraemia have found a perfect middle ground between the two. Definitely worth a listen if you're into very technical metal. Try and buy it and support a solid underground band. Definitely one to keep an eye on for future releases. They have the potential to reinvent an entire genre by themselves.
The newest trend in the genre of technical death metal is utter abundance and extremity - packing as many notes into your songs as possible while still trying to give it enough coherency to be called a song. Though I'm sure there are more, there are three major, well-known bands performing this ultra-wanky style of music: Beneath the Massacre, Brain Drill, and our friend here Viraemia. Out of these three, Viraemia have released the least material - five songs in total - and yet they are by far my favorite. Beneath the Massacre comes next in that list, but it feels as if the band forgets the general aim of their songs at times. Brain Drill leans too far towards grindcore in that their songs have very little sense of coherent flow to me. Viraemia, however, have nailed the formula down perfectly - the songs are technical and wanky, but at their very core are quite basic. It's essentially a brutal/slam death metal band using ultra-fast technical riffs.
To anyone unfamiliar with this ridiculously convoluted style of technical death metal, ninety percent of the riffs are played on the last two strings of the guitars, and they essentially have tons of fast, sweeping riffs, which are so ridiculously wankish in their method that even Yngwie Malmsteen's guitarwork seems somewhat simple in comparison (save for his solos). There is a surprising amount of bass presence in the music, which is probably necessary considering how often the guitarists are sweeping throughout the upper strings. The drummers tend be constant snare-blasting fill-playing monsters. And finally, in Viraemia at least, there is a nice technique to the vocals: the personality-filled, enunciated, shrieking (read: nothing like Suicide Silence) screams appear slightly more often than the somewhat dry growls, and in addition the listener also occasionally hears some guttural squeals, comparable to Guttural Secrete and Pencil Lead Syringe.
As I've said, the guitarwork is ridiculously wankish. The band's entire lyrical theme revolves around pathology, and they have pretty sufficiently instilled a feeling of disease throughout their music: during many of the sweeping riffs, it's all too easy to imagine bacteria flowing throughout a victim's bloodstream. Viraemia's music also sends chills down the spine every now and then: 1:50-2:06 in "Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation" utilizes the vocalist's disturbing inhaled (but somehow good) squeals backed by a typical slam death metal riff, and this slowed-down section of the music is immediately followed by an equally creepy fast, chugging return to the band's typical noodle riffs. The bridge of "Cancrum Oris" sports an up-sweeping dual-lead guitar riff coupled with the vocalist's hissing screams. It is moments like these - moments where I feel at risk of bodily harm because of the band's songs - where the music reaches its high points.
Part of what makes Viraemia's music so fun to listen to compared to most other technical death metal bands is that the music doesn't feel pretentious at all. No random time signatures, no progressive influence fucking up the formula, no changing riffs every six seconds - no, Viraemia's music feels very humble, surprisingly. Every song has a main riff and a chorus, and at least a few have bridges; anyone who says the music is random is lying through their teeth. Think of it this way - Viraemia's music is essentially Guttural Secrete, but for every note Guttural Secrete uses, Viraemia uses twenty. At its core, it's still quite simple - were this song a puzzle, you could take it entirely apart and be able to figure out which pieces fit together. Such a feat is only sometimes accomplished by Beneath the Massacre, and almost never by Brain Drill.
Of the big three of "extremely technical death metal", Viraemia gets the most approval from me. It's extremely simple at its core, and the music is substantially improved upon by adding tons of melodic, easy-to-follow riffs to the formula. Check this EP out, and soon.
Some of the words that I can use to describe this band and EP is: amazing, new, genre-fusing, did I mention amazing? This band is quite unique, a sound which is very technical, and comparable to, to even more technical than Brain Drill, but also keeps a strong Brutal Death Metal presence burning. What also sets this band apart from others is that although they fuse Technical DM and Brutal DM together, they also maintain strong refrains, or possibly, one might dare say choruses almost. Each of the 5 songs on this album has several catchy parts to it. The first time I heard "Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation" I couldn't get that song off my mind. The same can be said of the other songs, especially "Cancrum Oris". The songs are remarkably memorable. From the amazing technical riffing from the guitar(s), to the 10 string bass, the prominent drums, and the varying and effective vocals, ranging from scream to growl to brutal DM gutturals, the whole band works together with a terrific brand of musicianship. This EP is exceptionally well done for a band without a record label behind it. The EP cover's cool too.
The music is exceptionally difficult play on guitar and bass guitar respectively. The fact that they still don't have a record label, and yet somehow are at least as technical as Brain Drill and contemporaries (if not more), and consistently keep the music Brutal and effectively catchy and memorable is beyond my comprehension. There is a great deal of potential in this band. When the day comes that a debut album will be released on a record label, the world will change.
This band also reminds me of early Job For A Cowboy. This band has self recorded and released an EP, which JFAC and done too. And jeez, they're both from Arizona.
I am greatly pleased with this release, as it is proof of such a great band, and all the potential greatness that they could create. I'm generally happy with this EP, but as far a complaints go, I have a few. The music, although amazing, lacks in variation, and if a full length was released that was just like this EP but with maybe 10 songs, I wouldn't be that happy. The 5 songs on this EP stay within the same boundaries for the whole 20-ish minutes. There is little indication of any epic peaks, or variations in the music. But hopefully this is due to the fact that this is just an EP, so I hope the full length will be considerably more album-like.
Overall, quite a unique band possessing profound musicianship, potential, style, and possibly the origin of a new genre. Amazing and brilliant EP, but falls slightly short of orgasmic. The full length will has much to live up to.
A friend of mine had told me of many bands to listen to, gives me a list all the time. I found Viraemia thanks to him, and couldn't believe what I heard. This band has everything necessary to call it Technical Death Metal, and then some.
Viraemia had amazed me when I heard this EP, they all have amazing talent, and are not afraid to show it, and make it sound good at the same time. Between the incredible bass sweeps on a 10 string bass, the non-stop pick tapping of the guitars, and the incredible speed & stamina of their drummer, just shows the effort and talent of this band. They are definitely going somewhere,
That may however, be a large downfall. It does get somewhat repetitive at some points, as you think "This is just one long solo." Which is somewhat true, it barely has rhythm to it, and is just the same shit over and over again. It may sound cool at first, but when you REALLY listen to it, it's the hard truth. It reminds me a bit of the band Brain Drill, only like 4x better, and not as stupid.
The singer, somehow can mix both screaming and growling, shifting back and forth and make it sound good and accordant to the song. It does sound right, but wrong at some parts in their songs. But hey, I'm not really complaining, he can also do very strange sounding growls and screams, such as in the song Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation.
Their bassist is absolutely incredible at sweeping. Between creating a 10, or I think it was 12 string bass, and playing these mad riffs and sweeps on it, just sounds absolutely amazing. I don't know how he does it, it's just brutally amazing, it sounds somewhat repetitive, as I have said, but he always changes his sweeps at different points of the song, so it's not always the same shit over and over and then you say "Yeah, it was cool when I first heard it."
All in all, this is but the beginning of this band. They have great style and talent, and I'd like to know what they'll come out with next, they are going somewhere. Time will tell what Viraemia has to offer to the world of Technical Death Metal.
This was a difficult review to write as I found the band's staggering level of noodle riff proficiency both terrifying and confusing at first. Once I was able to crawl forth from my cavern, both feet on solid ground and take stock of my surroundings with a rock and stick for defense, I realized the truth of my situation: I was in a brave new world of acrobatic death metal the likes of which you simply DO NOT often hear from a demo-level band.
Viraemia are indeed one of those young bands which will make you scratch your head in astonishment when you hear the dual guitar and bass plugging of Josh Hernandez and Scott Plummer. Each of the 5 tracks on the EP are so frenetic and bewildering that all but the most hardened guitar aspirants are likely to quit their lessons and take up something safer...like crochet. Here's the kicker: I generally hate this type of shit, spastic excess which comes at the cost of effective and memorable writing. But Viraemia are a rare exception in that their devotion to this style is so prevalent that they actually tear open the fabric of spacetime to create a cartoon universe where the NORMAL laws of physics ARE the intense volleys of squiggly and paranoid guitar taps and wails, with the deviant phenomena occurring through the band's sparse application of brutal grooves (which are honestly not as impressive, but crucial in that they give the listener a break).
The vocals alter between Salacious Crumb grind snarls and a brutal low end while the drums of Michael Collins somehow manage to reign in the wild guitar and bass into something like a song. The tracks are all consistent, but I'll give "Necrotizing Fasciitis" and "Pit of Pestilence" the slight favor as they frightened me the most. Viraemia is a band likely to attract a lot of attention among the technicality starved masses in the USDM scene and beyond, I imagine this would make a good match for Willowtip or a similar label. I wouldn't be surprised if they were snapped up by the time I finish this review. In the meantime you can order the EP directly from the band.