If you are looking for nasty then Vicious Consolation/Virtuous Totality from Portuguese grindcore annihilators Utopium will feed your desires and then some. It is a fearsome atrocity of sonic viciousness and intensive malevolence but equally a compelling and deceptively contagious violation of primal enterprise and howling malice. The band bring an additional brawling hateful crust and sludge animosity to their grind driven destructiveness and though arguably it takes a few listens to truly make its persuasion the album is one you cannot refuse or escape.
The quintet from Lisbon formed in 2007, making their presence known strongly at home with their first demo Rehearsal the following year and their audience wasting live appearances. A few line-up changes came across the years but Utopium has gone from strength to strength, their strongly awaited debut EP Conceptive Prescience in 2010 easily living up to brewed expectations whilst receiving impressive acclaim, and a 7” split release with Lifedeceiver the following year only enhancing their growing status within extreme metal, as did their shows alongside the likes of Rotten Sound, Misery Index, Despised Icon and Wormrot as well as festivals appearances at places like Bracara Extreme and Milhões de Festa.
Released via Bleak Recordings, Vicious Consolation / Virtuous Totality has all the armoury, invention, and ‘charm’ to lift the band to the next level of recognition. From the opening torrent of aural abuse of Null Rousting through to its last primal second, the album is not an experience for the weak hearted or kneed but from start to finish it leaves an exhausted but certain intense satisfaction in its place. The opener arrives through dark intimidation, its corrosive breath wrapped around a lumbering oppressive energy and pressing hungrily upon the senses. The bass offers a resonating growl alongside serpentine vocals and sonic squalls, all brewing towards the expulsion of malicious unbridled destruction. Into its now octane fuelled charge the track rips the ear apart, its riffs searing flesh and rhythms cracking bone but it is all ok as an impossibly addictive groove spines and seduces the whole annihilatory confrontation. The climax of the song returns to the intense heavy massed rummage through emotions whilst its lingering sonic farewell leads the senses right into the fury of Lodging In A Rut. It is mere seconds in presence, every one a blight upon the ear but equally a very pleasing scourge.
The song is like many, barely around long enough to blister the senses even once, though that is all most need to make a lingering impact and it has to be said that the varied range of lengths from seconds to at most four long tortuous minutes, only emphasise and brings further light the wealth of imagination and inventiveness beneath the constant ruinous attack. It also allows eighteen venomous predators to wreak real potent havoc across the sonic battlefield that is Vicious Consolation / Virtuous Totality.
The likes of the excellent Held Tombstone, with its thick black tar embrace gnawing away with each vehement driven riff and crippling rhythm soaked by punk rage, leaves disorientation and greedy hunger for more whilst the contagiously grooved Jarred Into Newtons recruits any remaining doubt and resistance with carnal bred ease, its insistent and sharply honed riff driven scything another irresistible violation.
The first nine tracks hold their own with those mentioned the biggest highlights but the Virtuous Totality portion of the release is its most compelling stance and immediately makes that declaration with the monstrous Dissolution, its carnivorous rabidity merciless and demanding especially through the throaty bass prowl and sonic searing unleashed. It is powerfully backed up by the spiteful Retrace and Rummage, all of its thirty eight seconds a scalding toxin, and the ravenous Thrive A Starch, a track which towers above the senses with leviathan intensity and iron clad metal aggression and proceeds to enflame the passions with caustic aural irreverence and undefined but unavoidably addictive grooves from guitar and bass.
The best track follows soon after in the black-hearted shape of Owner of A Kept Abidance. From an ear plundering slow vindictive consumption with vocals dripping malignancy with every intelligibly growled syllable, the song explodes into a torrentially driven flume of rancor sculpted sonics and similarly bred rhythmic abuse. It is a maelstrom of hostile intensive virulence and vitriolic grooves which are irrepressibly seductive as is its open enmity, and by far the best track on the album.
With the likes of Revamp The Disinfection and the brilliant Thin-Skinned Skill ensuring Vicious Consolation / Virtuous Totality finishes on a pinnacle of vitriol, Utopium has delivered one of the best extreme releases this year. If the likes of Brutal Truth, Nasum, Extreme Noise Terror, and Terrorizer do it for you, then this will surely thrill.
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