VICERY is characterized as a band mingling various genres such as Death, Industrial, Groove and Nü Metal. It could be too much and seems scary on paper, but the Serbs are raising curiosity from the first notes with this ambition to reconcile the two schools of Death Metal. They took – this must be emphasize – a reasonable time to produce their first record, so about two years after the band formation and the release of a three titles demo (which we have already reviewed here). The production is neat with instruments mastered and synchronized, as well as the skilled voice, especially since the group has only two members: one to singing, the other to instruments.
For a first throw, the duet has released the hard shell and thus has a good baseline to put their first foot on the Metal scene. The band is drawing on the Death Metal foundations where Ivana Momčilović’s vocal spectrum sounds mostly like Old School: a very cavernous guttural chant and, therefore, usually very linear. Golden Bullet will be the only track to try melodic singings. It’s a good idea to break the monotony of the grunt but the audio effects are too excessive and end up sounding wrong, even if the result makes think of the Max Payne universe’s Valkyrie drug. This is however a minor detail since we lastly accept the modulation after a few listening and the song takes on its full meaning.
It is surely very tough to sing in such a wide range and most bands (CALIBAN, DESTINITY…) use one of the musicians when the opportunity arises. Otherwise, tending towards a howled scream, or a shrieking, would have been a good settlement, especially on Nightmare Realm chorus. The singer seems to be able to do this though, by allowing herself a few but too rare modulations when comes to drugs personifications, mainly present in the lyrics. Moreover, studying other Elio Rigonat’s projects – Thrash band KOBOLD and a more Progressive one-man band EGREGOR – there is no doubt he has the capacity to do backing vocals; it may be a measure that could be explored.
Looking back to this monotony caused by the cavernous voice, Old School Death Metal has overcome this lack with explosive bridges and full of devastating riffs, where the guitars have their ropes smoking with quick and nervous soli. Here, the latter remain unfortunately behind the rhythm, leaving quite some frustration as last feeling. If they had all been modulated like the structure of Dead and Vicery, extremely well executed during the bridge, we would have better appreciated these frenzy times.
Let’s talk about this overwhelming rhythmic by the way. It has the same impact as being hit by a R730 V8 10×8 launched at full speed, leaving only a mush or whatever may remain after its passage. The drums pummel relentlessly but without this bad feeling of an endless blast, cut particularly by micro-soli between two verses and through a double bass drum modulated accordingly. We easily snatch some headbangs on these heavy guitars supported by a vivid bass.
Nevertheless, some titles are way too much similar to go unnoticed. TSAR#1 and Enforcer have the same jerky rhythm, Golden Bullet and Nightmare Realm have the same chords and effects on the lead guitar; plus in a general way, the songs are all roughly structured around the same riff. The same goes for the arpeggios that follow the rhythm sections and which are not a solo as such. In the end, nothing really singular in terms of composition and it’s really unfortunate! Because the young Serbian duo manages to reconcile a subtle mixture of genres by adhering consistently in its composition and without being patchy.
It’s a rather mixed result that come through this Devolution. On one hand we find good elements such as all this energy pursued, a quality post-production, or a young singer capable of competing with Runhild Gammelsæter in terms of deep and cavernous grunt. On the other hand, there are still some gaps in both instrumental and vocal diversification that might hold the listener’s attention once curiosity has passed. A weakness that VICERY still has time to fix.