Virocracy – Ecophagia (Apostasy Records)

Wednesday, 30th March 2022
Rating: 8.5 / 10

Previously covered in our May 2020 Rapid Fire column through their Irradiation debut album, Virocracy returns on Apostasy Records for the follow-up Ecophagia. This German unit plays a potent brand of progressive death/thrash metal, carefully balancing out the intricate and tech elements to remain very brutal and catchy as necessary. Holding key sequences at controlled paces while also being very heavy and blast-worthy when called for ensures these eight main tracks (beyond the “Relict” 54 second intro) contain plenty of exciting sequences and songs to pour over, ruminate in the mind, begging for multiple exposures for added retention capabilities.

The guitar rhythms, clean nuances, and compelling lead breaks/counterpoint offerings from Jan Heidelberger and Alexander Jelinek run across death, thrash, progressive and even modern/blackened lines. Check out the variations where jazz-like /Death circular leads sprout up against the stunted mid-tempo to speedy riffs for “Befallen”, tremolo spots and crushing walls of guitars building anticipation for the next groove/semi-blasting switch-ups – or the progressive guitar/bass interplay during “Denial” where layers of Voivod-ish chord structures fly by at thrash/melodic death pacing. The density of ideas presented track to track never feels overwhelming, the band sure to inject the right atmospheric accent or solid groove passage to hammer home the right hooks for “Ecophagy” and “Arboreal Sleep”. Add in the guttural madness and sadistic screams of Anika ov Moseberg and it’s the ultimate fusion of the potency between voice and music – ripping it up in rapid fashion for the energetic monster “Devolution” as well as showcasing versatility during the roller-coaster seven-minute plus “Uproot”, demonstrating remarkable clarity while summoning those inner demons that come bubbling to the surface.

Choosing to be thoughtful song to song, Ecophagia has broad underground appeal to not just progressive death metal followers, but also other sub-genres including followers of Gojira, Revocation, and Atheist. An act to keep tabs on, as this is crushing material that can stand the test of time.

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