Strigoi – Viscera (Season Of Mist)

Looking for some soul-searing death doom?

Something that will chill your bone marrow?

Start with an act founded by Greg Mackintosh.

Paradise Lost’s dreadlocked axeman helped shape the bleakest of sub genres with his bare hands.

With PL’s ’91 opus Gothic, his fretwork spun a web that would reach across the decades. Check out the new Temple Of Void or Worm records if you want the evidence.

And with Viscera, the Yorkshireman and his co-conspirators have delivered a masterclass in misery; a temple of torment surrounded by towering, blood spattered monoliths.

Their first offering, 2019’s Abandon All Faith, was smeared in the crusty residue of Mackintosh’s Vallenfyre project. Perhaps that’s not surprising, considering that Strigoi was in many ways a reconstitution of the band – albeit a far darker incarnation.

And even Viscera is still punctured by blastbeats and d-beats. The aptly named Napalm Frost is a blazing grind inferno. King Of All Terror goes for scorched earth discore before descending into the gloom.

But the blackened death doom that infected Abandon All Faith now has deeper roots in Strigoi’s rotten soil.

Mackintosh, plus bassist and co-writer Chris Casket, drummer Guido Zima and six stringer Ben Ash, have weaved a bleak tapestry across Viscera. Every blackened chord, every tortured lyric, carries a suffocating weight.

The spindling leadwork of United In Viscera heralds the arrival of a slithering leviathan, while An Ocean Of Blood – harking back to early PL or even Lost’s Medusa album – swells with horror and hate. Byzantine Tragedy goes one step further into the underworld, with ethereal vocals drifting across a charred, apocalyptic soundscape.

However, the turns of pace and percussive shifts ensure that Viscera doesn’t pull itself under. The contrast between Byzantine Tragedy and its follow-up, the fearsome, Autopsy-like death groove of Redeemer, is an example of this approach: Mackintosh and Casket are inventive writers, and this record has been crafted as a complete, complex whole.

By the time Iron Lung releases its last, fetid gasp, Strigoi will have made your nightmares flesh. The problem is, you’ll want them to do it all over again.