EP Review: Viscen – “Death Symmetry” (Thrash Metal/Punk)

Written by: Valkyrjiaa

ViscenDeath Symmetry
> Heavy/Thrash Metal/Punk
> Newfoundland, Canada
> Released September 30
> Independent/self-release

It’s no surprise that metal captures Canada just as much as it’s captured many other nations, from bands like The Agonist pulling in crowds both big and small to their shows, to death metallers Kataklysm capturing the metal world by storm. Even journeying as far back as the 80’s we see bands like Razor and Annihilator capturing listeners and driving metal communities mad with their sound. With the rise ever persistent, and the last two years to commit to personal projects, one woman from the frozen north of Newfoundland, Canada sought to conquer the divide with a new solo project called Viscen, which just dropped its debut EP Death Symmetry. The EP contains three choice tracks just under 10 minutes in length, but far from any bit of sweetness. Filled with chaos, terror, and a blistering mix of atmospheric darkness and hellish screams, there is an energy about this EP that not only brings speed and madness, but complexity as well.

Sole member Noctum was hooked on metal from a very young age, fueled by the sounds of Black Sabbath from the very first riff. After receiving her first guitar, she quickly found inspiration from legendary guitarists like James Hetfield and Kirk Hammet, Chuck Schuldiner, and Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman. Not only does she tackle both instruments and vocals on this EP, she does so with a passion and intensity unparalleled in our realms.

“Blood Orgy” takes a thrash approach, unleashing speed and power seen only in bands like Kreator. As the harshness of Noctum’s vocals come in, we’re battered by skin-shredding riffwork that grinds up and down our spine with relentless precision. For a debut, this track feels very much like its been pulled from the 80’s, having sat on a record player in a smoke-filled room while headbanging commenced all around. It’s a short introductory track that lets us see into Viscen in its entirety and prepare us for the hell about to be unleashed.

The second track, “Ditch Corpse”, drops the speed for a taste of punk-like rocking with its own mix of solid rhythm and bass that keeps your head bobbing along on the car ride or preparing for a show. Vocals stick to distorted takes, coming in with short bursts as not to take away from the mellow, classic heavy metal and punk vibe in this track’s harmony. While still initiating its own sequence of blinding guitar work and heavy drums, this track is gentle in comparison to the first, doing well in giving us a taste on the differing genres that inspired Viscen’s origin.

The final track, in all its metal glory, is titled “Suffocate”, and the introductory chord takes that title to heart. Ringing onward, strummed sporadically, it takes a moment for things to pick up but, when they do, hell and all its fury are unleashed. A tremendous howl ruptures the silence and speed takes hold once more, wrapping its lightning-like claws around our throats and forcing us into a full metal breakdown. It’s got classic heavy metal at its core, with the relentlessness of thrash and the vocals of punk all warped into a cracked blender and left to spill out as it spins on high.

This EP is masterful in all its elements; from the guitarwork to the battering drum beats, every inch of this three-track EP feels like the demo of an 80’s metal band, or grunge filler that started off in a smoke-filled basement and unleashed in someone’s garage. The vibe that moves onward from that is one that pools from dive bar venues to the big stage with all the bells and whistles. Viscen’s inspirations and practice are heavily present in each track but the ability to execute such fury, just as those inspirations did, is not done so easily. Noctum’s dedication to skill and composition is heard throughout this EP from the carefully plotted melodies to the grinding riffs and the bass lines that keep it all in time.


Those craving a new school take on an old school sound would do well to get introduced to Viscen‘s Death Symmetry and the hell this one woman project is bound to unleash again and again. It’s available now.