Death Heaven – Viral Apocalypse 2007 – 82%

Death Heaven’s 2007 debut Viral Apocalypse shoots out of the gates, with an intro preaching exactly what you’d expect from the title. This is followed by guitars that spit out rapid machine gun fire, showing you exactly what you’re going to get with this album, and setting the bar quite high from the get go. This is a trait you’ll hear throughout the entire album, as these guys definitely place an emphasis on chunky and technical riffage, not all that far removed from post-W.O.C. Decapitated. To them, fast and furious is the main name of the game. This is technical death metal that forces dense riffs into your brain, with melody not even being an afterthought save for the solos. Rather than wank around with incessant melodies and leads, the primary component of nearly every riff is the chug.

The vocals are of the standard modern death metal growl, with very little flair or difference from many other of their peers. At times the they can sound a bit powerless due to the strain his voice seems to be going through.  They’ll wear on some listeners who would rather have more variation thrown in the mix, as the singer only uses one rather monotonous style. The vocals are difficult to understand, but this concept album paints a bleak and meaningless future where an apocalypse is currently happening, and has happened numerous times already.

A problem this album encounters is that it’s not original in any real way. The emphasis is easily on the riffs, which chug well above anything else in the mix. Whenever the bass comes through, you’ll be treated to fills that really don’t add much to the music other than to let the bassist go, “I can play my instrument as well. Observe…” Occasionally you’ll hear it clanking underneath everything. The music doesn’t suffer much from a lack of bass, however. Of course if the bass were louder, it would have added to an already rich and pulverizing overall tone.

At times the band attempts other styles, such as jazzy fills or your run of the mill acoustic sections. There are 2 instrumental acoustic songs (Inner Reflections, Into The Desolation Of Artificial Spirituality) which only distract from the music’s main goal, which is to crush. They have little emotion, and do little other than serve as interruptions that bother the continuity of the album. One thing the album gets some extra points for is the epics that are the final two songs. After the second part of Techno Decomposition World gets over, you literally feel like the end has just occurred.  If you’re so inclined to continue listening, you’ll be treated to 10 or so minutes of a repetitive, and hollow drum loop with murky sounds fogging up the sound above. After that, there’s some old guy reading some passage or something in a foreign language.

What you see is what you get. There’s nothing earth shattering about this. It’s modern tech death. If you want decent death metal that chugs alongside you, rather than soaring melodies that fly over your house, this album is for you. If you find yourself enjoying Decapitated or Iniquity, rather than Necrophagist or any other cheap Ramen noodle bands, I’m willing to bet you’ll find something awesome about this.

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