Starting out with an atypical MMORPG soundtrack style introduction, a misleading cue is set for the coming onslaught of harsh, tonal metallic abuse in thunderous Djent style. Haunted Shores is "side project" of producer, multi-instrumentalist Misha Mansoor AKA "Bulb" of Periphery. I first found the band through their sublime, unforgettable Djent-ification of RPG game Final Fantasy VII's "Prelude Bombfare" soundtrack. Now having caught wind of this debut mini-record I quickly flocked to get my hands, or ears, on it. "Viscera" is a short and sweet journey through overly produced, aesthetically forceful and technically electric music.
Between its crushing Djent grooves and slamming drums a story, setting and mood is told through expressive, colorful guitar solos and dynamic leads which interchange the heavy movements with its visual narrative. Much imagination seeps through these breaks that weave moments alongside a sonic assault where the guitars amp up or the drums roll heavy on the pedals and sometimes both together. The result is a progressive journey that embraces is two sides, leading us on a fruitful adventure.
The production is an interesting point to contest, an initial adaptation is required to embrace an over loud aesthetic where the guitars feel crowded alongside a hammering snare and base tone that feels like it bursts to its peaks with every given strike of a drum, quite possibly the sign of a drum machine. As one settles with the tone it certainly has a charm, as the music engulfs with instrumental intensity. This style sounds especially nice in the acoustic led moments where a lot of the hidden synth layers emerge from being buried by the smothering guitars.
The mid tracks create a real sense of cohesion, however the aforementioned intro track and the following two minute heavy fest "The Spire" steers from the path. It ends with another frontal riff assault "Blast Inc." featuring a stunning solo from Norwegian Saxophonist Jorgen Munkeby who leads the way into some of the records crunchiest riffs with his subtle cues in the background. A bonus track with Devin Townsend concludes, Devin laying vocals down for the third song "Norway Jose". Its a perfect union for an instrumental album that sounded as if it could do without, no surprise a talent such as Devin could elevate it further.
Favorite Tracks: Harrison Fjord, Vectors