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Shadow Music Ryan Harding Review by
Ryan Harding
Viral Load
Corpse Gristle

Here’s another slab of Texas Death Metal, a scene quickly getting notoriety. It doesn’t have a definitive sound just yet, unless DYING FETUS worship counts. VIRAL LOAD has their brushes with the DYING FETUS sound, particularly in the first couple of tracks. This is misleading, as the later tracks are careful not to merely duplicate DF. The originality factor isn’t so pronounced, but you can tell they’re at least working on that.

This disc features their "Severed Immunity" demo, making for over fifty minutes of material. VIRAL LOAD is comprised of Shawn Whitaker (guitar, back-up vocals, drum programming), Joe McGuire (bass), and vocalist Donny Hamilton. The drum machine has a reasonably natural sound, not too distracting. The blast sections sound human, though impossibly fast programming down the line wouldn’t hurt. "Bashed Fucking Skull" is the opener, and the similarity to the DYING FETUS song "Blunt Force Trauma" doesn’t stop at the title.

The style of high-end technicality is instantly recognizable, along with the more mosh-riff laden sections. "My Mighty Sword" relies mostly on being heavy, which doesn’t sustain for all five minutes of the song, but not bad. "Mesmerized by the Bloodstained Walls" begins the exodus away from the DYING FETUS resemblance, more standard death sounding with sudden blast segues. The more varied vocal style is noteworthy, though the higher vocals could use some fine tuning; they’re not much more effective than Chris Barnes’s. "Galloping Upon the Entrails of the Dead" stands out as one of the more focused brutal endeavors. It’s a good start from the self-proclaimed purveyors of "Backwods Brutality," indicative of a willingness to improve. As it stands it has some things to offer on its own and stays interesting enough even when it doesn’t.


Perplex SkullPerplex SkullPerplex Skull

This review copyright 2000 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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