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When You’re Down, Look Up: Viscera///’s “City of Dope and Violence” EP

city of dope and violence

I named Viscera///‘s 3: Release Yourself Through Desperate Rituals as my favorite album from last year, mostly because it’s the one which made me feel the most. Upbeat but dark, groovy but dense, stylish but unpretentious, Viscera/// displayed every near-impossible duality I look for in heavy music, with impressive vibe to boot. And it did so over undulating ribbons of atmospheric intensity, sans any black metal. Clearly, as a lover of atmospherics in music, I gravitate toward black metal; here, though, the jives and softness of Viscera///’s lush post-metal stole my heart.

So, expectedly, I was super-excited to hear about their new City of Dope and Violence EP to close off this year, featuring three new tracks as a follow-up to 3: Release Yourself Through Desperate Rituals. Frankly, I was surprised (then later elated) to find a much gentler approach to songwriting, tone, and atmospherics now, especially the closing track. While this new EP carries forth the ethos of the band’s last full-length, it offers much more post-rock to round out their sound. Again, the band has nailed it, stylishly and creativity — check out a full stream of the EP below.

It’s best to think of the City of Dope and Violence EP as three distinct movements or snapshots rather than a linear story. The first track “Marauders” plays out as the most straightforward continuation of the prior full-length with its shaper edge, thick layering, and well-timed climax. It might actually fit on the prior album, but its relative gentler approach to building atmosphere would set it apart. Nevertheless, this song demonstrates that, yes, this band still has the energy to push forward even after nearly two decades. Then, the eponymous middle track offers itself as abstract pause: fuzz, voices, echoes, noise surround your head and dislocates you to aid the finale’s final hit.

“Spirit of ’86” closes the EP and concludes it more brightly than the band has ever done before, almost as if there is a repository of pent-up gutso for another full-length (we can hope). With its clean-sung vocals, sensational upbeat groove, and overfilling mood which makes you want to put your arms around the person next to you, it champions the sort of “aware positivity” amid negative context. The content of this song (and Viscera///’s music in general) is introspective and somber for sure; it’s the juxtaposition between this and the music itself which fuels the band’s creativity. Just as they did on 3: Release Yourself Through Desperate Rituals, Viscera/// offers gleeful, existential relief from the rigors of life through inspiring, postmodern heavy music.

The City of Dope and Violence EP releases December 2nd via Third I Rex.

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