Vile, Vicious and Victorious

With a moniker like Vicious with and album title like Vile, Vicious & Victorious this band set themselves some pretty high expectations that they had better damn well fulfill. And this Gothenburg lot gives it a pretty good try, but it isn’t quite as promising as their namesake.

A solid, competent take on thrashy, energetic, melodic death metal, Vicious take the expected At The Gates influence and run with it, injecting a little character but nothing to make them stand out from the crowd. Well played, tight and enjoyable for what it is, Vicious make no qualms about being wholly unoriginal, instead just delivering 9 steady stabs of contemporary thrash laced with some surprising harmonies and acceptable songwriting, just don’t expect the second coming up Lindberg & Co.

Not quite as urgent or dynamic as fellow (but defunct) ATG clones Nail Within, Vicious have some restraint to their sound often slowing to slower, but still precise pace. Their choppier dual guitars aren’t as seething as some of their peers (Carnal Forge, The Haunted), but still have a stout tone and tight delivery. Vocally, Henke Wenngren from Skyfire lends his raspy throat to the proceedings, adding to the overall familiarity of the album, but it’s safe and not needlessly overly adventurous for the sake of changing things up.

Vicious are the very epitome of paint by numbers. While generally entertaining, there’s nothing really special about the album that leaps out at you. Other than some slower more controlled moments like the start of “Boots of Led,” and “A Vicious Mind” show there is some potential character deep in there somewhere, but they are rooted between the expected galloping gaits of the other 80% of the album. Occasionally, Vicious will throw in a harmonic curveball that’s pleasing and promising for future efforts (although to be honest, Vicious probably isn’t really band you need to hear of again) should they develop them. “High of Fire” has a pretty cool chorus structure, that intertwines some decent In Flames-like twiddlies, amid the crunchy exterior, but its one of the few parts of the album that was not as “samey” as the rest. The end jaunt of “Deadicate” is entertaining though, as that oft used riff still gets my head going. At their most energetic, Vicious still lack the venom of their peers, as “Deathrash” and album closer, “The Feeder of Evil,” while capable, are never as pulse quickening or balls out as they could be.

Whether it’s carefully mediated pacing or just a general lack of better than average song writing, Vicious just never get over the hump of acceptable mediocrity. The Studio Underground production (Ebony Tears, Carnal Forge), only adds to the overall heard it before atmosphere of the album. Vile, Vicious & Victorious is just one of those middle tier albums that come and goes with little fan fare, there is a little to enjoy, but Vicious will be hard pressed to make any kind of impact with better, larger label bands purveying the same style.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 22nd, 2004


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