If you tend to like your music wrapped in layer upon layer of absolutely punishing guitars, then the latest effort Viscera from Byla, the ambient noise project of New York musicians Kevin Hufnagel (Disrythmia) and Colin Marsten (Disrythmia, Behold…the Arctopus) is definitely a CD to be on the lookout for. The premise on Viscera is to offer the listener three lengthy and musically dense compositions with an aim to push the sonic envelope with regards to sheer intensity and even tolerance. Along for the ride here is former Swans vocalist Jarboe who graces these tracks with an array of whispers, groans and even death metal style growls. However as varied as her various vocal mutations are, she is often completely engulfed by the sheer weight of Hufnagel and Marsten's wall of sound. The remainder is rounded out by two shorter tracks which are not only much quieter but more melancholic and hypnotic as well. Perhaps they were added to act as a brief respite of sorts from the avant-garde noise, but whatever the real reason, the striking contrast in style ends up making for a more well rounded listening experience.
On the surface the music on Viscera might appear to be nothing more than extreme noise and as mentioned earlier, nothing more than an hour long test of your tolerance and will. However simmering beneath that surface is layer upon layer of minimalist sounding atmospherics which ultimately never fails to confront and challenge the listener head on. The moments of ambient tranquility interspersed with hefty doses of pure primal aggression makes for one hell of an end result.