Typically, I avoid bands with such long names (yes, yes, I have too many pet peeves I know!) with the impression of these bands either being too metalcore-ish for my liking or simply being too pretentious. But the fascinating artwork on Clinging on the Trees of a Forest Fire (CTTTOAFF)'s latest release, Visceral easily captured my attention, in fact, even before I noticed the long name of the band.
Not knowing what to expect was certainly a good thing, with no expectations of the band, as a crushing, sludgy riff greets the listener on the intro track \\\. The random scratching noises and the feedback on the guitar reminds one instantly of crazed death metal bands such as Impetuous Ritual and their related band, Portal, with the heavy experimentation on the instruments and songwriting that create music so extreme that could truly be called their own. The listener is then thrown to the next track, Lower than Life, High as the Sky, greeted by the tortured growls of Ethan, at times even leaning towards a grindcore style. As the band blazes onward with little warning, the sudden outburst by John immediately brings to mind war metal bands such as Heresiarch, bringing the already crushing experience up another notch. Throughout the release, John gets many moments to shine, such as those towards the end of Garbage, and these are some of the personal highlights, with the brutality and the high precision in his drumming.
While there is a constant transition between slow, sludgy moments and blistering, energy-filled grindcore moments, these are done with little awkwardness. In fact, the slower moments on the album help to build up a high amount of tension within the listener, and through the faster moments it feels almost as if the band had finally found an outlet to release all that pent up tension, and this is especially so at the transition between Lower than Life, High as the Sky and Garbage, giving the listeners a good opportunity to mosh along at the same time. Contained on the release are also pure grindcore songs, such as Special Education and Biracial. The ability of the band to contain such perfect balance of slow, heavy and fast, furious segments has definitely made Visceral an extremely enjoyable release, fit for fans of any form of extreme metal.