Viogression – 3rd Stage of Decay

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Wisconsin death metal act Viogression makes a surprising return with its third full-length album aptly titled “3rd Stage of Decay”. Among the vast talented bands of New York and Florida, Viogression's debut album “Expound and Exhort” was coined in the spirit of early Obituary kudos to vocalist Brian DeNeffe. The musical styling of the band remains the same as early material if not powerful, “3rd Stage of Decay” is reminiscent of the classic death metal bands like Morbid Angel, Pestilence, and Asphyx. The current lineup features the old-time vocalist Brian DeNeffe, guitarist Matt Holtz, drummer Duane Timlin, and bassist Jason Hellman.

The songs on the album follow the slow old school framework with incredible vocal abilities and massive guitars that would tear down the walls of your room. Unlike brutal death metal acts, Viogression‘s musical motifs avoid the unnecessary blast beats. Instead, the whole album is packed with loud suffocating vocals similar to John Tardy’s (Obituary) growls. From its opening track “Nectar of VeinsViogression offers a heavy slab of old school morbidity and takes a dive into a constant whirlpool of riffs and double bass. The influences of the Floridian style of death metal are prominent but Viogression‘s vigorous passion emphasizes the guitar’s arsenal, and the drums are constantly dynamic. The album’s main aspect is that the band managed to increase their brutal take on classic death metal.

Under the Riverbed” begins at a slow pace where the grinding drums play a dramatic impact on the pulverizing effect of the double bass, and the song transitions to powerful tempos. With intense riffing incorporating brutal riffs that would slowly pulverize your eardrums, the songs on the album contain many slow moments while the vocals spew out sick guttural growls. Among the fastest tracks in the album is “Death Drive” which is deathly brutal. There are frequent blast beats propelled by stomping riffs. “3rd Stage of Decay” holds all the hallmarks of early Death and Obituary. Despite all these years, Viogression has strengthened its dynamics, and the guitars and drums reflect on the rawness. There is definitely no question that the Wisconsin quartet managed to develop its own niche in the style of death metal.

The guitars are innovative and have a touch of freshness. Unlike the contemporary old school death metal bands, the presentation here shows the deep roots of early death metal. While brutality and aggression are the most distinctive features of the album, the songwriting is well-honed. Songs like “3 Skulls” and “From Dust” offer unforgettable riffs that bear the late 80’s and early 90’s trademarks. The guitar department demonstrates superior qualities in terms of riffing and the atmospheric hooks, including the lead guitars, making the album an instant classic!! The instrumental sections are rife but it also shows the outstanding composition, drumming performance is top-notch. There are plenty of blasting sections carried by shredding guitar solos. Brian DeNeffe’s guttural vocals are abrasive exuding all the aesthetic qualities of Floridian death metal a la Death and Obituary.

The blast beats come rumbling on tracks like “Caliginous Conflagration”, a testimony of the sheer genius of writing hefty songs. The vocals emitting ominous morbid growls, each track separates itself from the previous. The album is loaded with sickening morbidity while songs like “Murder”  features high rasping pitches and the rapid drums find a perfect balance between high-octane tempos and the slower-paced tempos. The powerful mixture of the drums and the rumbling bass guitar intertwine with the brutal riffing. “3rd Stage of Decay” maintains a great range of styles from classic death and doom metal. One of the highlights of the album is “Sisters of Iris/ Taurion”: the tolling bells immediately invoke the style of doom metal. The song begins with slow-paced drums, and ultra-slow doomy riffs soaked in gloomy tremolos. Then there is a great interplay of clean guitars and towering solos that ends with a bass guitar solo section making it one of the best songs.

The maximum violence seems more clear on “Blood Stained Path”, whereas “Cipher” erupts with the riff assault with clean guitar textures adding melodies, is the weakest track. The closing track “Memory Ever After” is solely acoustic that provides closure. In my humble opinion, the final three songs are more like fillers it would have been better if Viogression reduced the fat also the time length of the album which is extended to 55 minutes seems quite long. Nevertheless “3rd Stage of Decay” is an excellent album from these veterans.

REVIEW SCORE

  • Music / Songwriting 9/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
  • Mix / Production 8/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 7/10
  • Originality 9/10
8.4

The 32 years of business is enough to justify the band’s old-school influences despite the similarities to Obituary the third album defines the musical character of the Wisconsin quartet, if you are into bands like Morta Skuld, Morgue, and Incubus, then Viogression’s newest album is essential to fulfilling your obsession.

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