Released: 2015, Inverse Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Formed in 2008, Amanita Virosa are a symphonic death metal band describing themselves as “hospital metal”, which is probably a first in the metal world. Asystole is their debut album and fitting with the title they promise it to be “nine tracks of heartstopping brutality.”
The first track “Vita a Mortram” opens with a pleasant folky melodic guitar passage backed up by some classic symphonic synth strings. At just under two minutes this is just the album's intro and it gives a promising impression of what's to come. It flows into second track “My Slightest Hope” where some fast paced death metal guitars are unleashed. The symphonic keyboards in the background add some extra emotion, which alternates with some nice piano. The third track “...Of Failing” has a melody that sounds like “Phantom of the Opera”, which is combined with the aggressive guitars and drumming to create something even more dramatic. Towards the end of the song the guitars become more melodic and there's one of the genre's classic guitar solos.
What's good about this album is that it's not just metal with some keyboards stuck in the background, and it's not just a load of keyboards with some guitars shoved in the mix. Both sides of the instrumentation are racing neck and neck with their power and intensity, thought has been put into both. There are a lot of infectious melodies weaved into the compositions that do their own thing as well as become part of the overall picture.
One of the best tracks is “Mental Failure” starting with it's darkly creeping piano and building into an uneasy and aggressive track that progressively gets more intense. “Suck The Poison” has to be the highlight album with the most interesting structure shifting between death metal riffing and gentle melodic passages. The chord progressions and rich keyboard backing give it an epic feel, even more so with the guitar solo towards the end.
If this is hospital metal, it's most certainly the A&E department and I might even consider phoning an ambulance. Overall it's a fast paced and stimulating listen by a band that can step up to the mark with all elements of the composition creating something that's exhilarating and emotional.
By Jacob Ovington