United States, Self-Released, Progressive Death Metal
Vivicide doesn’t play death metal in the sense that Cannibal Corpse plays death metal. A selection of listed liked artists by the Phoenix four-piece are very nonstandard to the material usually reviewed by TDM (Black Dahlia Murder, Tool, etc.) That being said, Vivicide’s Sanctuary EP is dynamic and well-written progressive death, with a lot of groove. Old school death metal this is not, but excellent technical and heavy music it is.
Sanctuary boasts an exceptionally strong performance from the rhythm section. An image comes to mind of a grizzled giant, swinging an evergreen through small cottages. The giant momentarily stops to consider the calamity; then resumes his path of destruction. The drums crush through with a surging double bass, stopping and starting sharply and precisely. Perhaps most memorably, bassist Noah Shephard’s basslines leap to the forefront in a manner not unlike Obscura.
Rather than the typical death growls, vocalist Kevin Coulter employs a mid-ranged shout. This style will probably appeal to fans of Born of Osiris and Veil of Maya, but it may alienate metalheads who prefer the deep growls of Suffocation and Deeds of Flesh. Mr. Coulter also plays guitar for the Vivicide, and a similar variance from traditional technical death metal is evident. In tone the guitars have a hefty, seven string crunch, which add to interesting and memorable riffs. See “Silhouettes,” which features an oscillation between Gojira slides and straightforward bludgeoning.
Overall, fans of technical or progressive leaning metal with -core elements (such as Within the Ruins) will probably enjoy Sanctuary. And so will brutalheads if they can put aside their crotchety old man britches, because it is a highly enjoyable and forward-thinking debut.
EP Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Witness to the Void