August 21, 2013 | , | 3.5

Utopium, Vicious Consolation / Virtuous Totality

Utopium: Vicious Consolation / Virtuous Totality

Utopium have a moniker that brings to mind visions of stoned hippies in robes congregating around a communal circle as majestic floating unicorns piss rainbows onto the gathered masses. Vicious Consolation / Virtuous Totality, the debut album from this Portugal based group, however, is anything but mythical water sports and crunchy granola utopia. The burly grind-core held within these 18 tracks though certainly sound as like they have little, crusty chunks of ground hippy in the mix.

The music that this quintet offer on their first full-length is burly and violent as hell. This isn’t a full-on grind-core attack though. Utopium are sure to throttle back when needed and inject a solid amount of crusty mayhem and sludgy goodness into their beefy sound. “Null Rousting” starts out brooding and malevolently slow, tempting one to think this album has a doomy influence (it does, but only slightly) before unleashing hell with a blasting, barbaric rhythm from drummer “J” and bassist “P.” The guitars jump from buzz saw riffing to off-kilter squeals and back again with reckless abandon all thanks to the duo of “T” and “JR.” I’m not sure why the band is resorting to just initials but whatever, the theme continues with lead growler “R,” who delivers deep guttural growls with mid-range screams effectively.

Most of the songs found on Vicious Consolation / Virtuous Totality are under a minute and a half in length, though a few reach nearly three minutes in length. They are frenzied by nature yet have enough variety within their short life spans to keep the music from wearing on grated nerves. The sub one minute “Jaded Graft” is balls-to-the-wall grind stained punk while “Tangiest Outleft” leads off with a great sound byte before diving face first into a diesel-powered stone crusher with driving riffs and animalistic drum work.

While the ADHD eruptions lasting a few second comprise most of the album, it’s tracks like “Held Tombstone,” “Thrive a Starch,” and “Dissolution” which are longer in length and more dynamic in song structure. They showcase a band that knows how to do more than just sandblast your facial tissue from your skull. Sure the songs are packed with blistering grind, but take “Held Tombstone,” for example — the song builds wonderfully through sludgy riffs and layered tempo shifts. “Tort Deletion” is over a minute in length but is anything but direct and straightforward in its mission to grind your bones to dust.

There are just too many killer songs on this impressive debut from Utopium to call out in a single review, so I’m just gonna tell you to get off your lazy ass and buy the damned album. Within the confines of Vicious Consolation / Virtuous Totality (which runs a scant 23 minutes by the way) you’ll be launched haphazardly from one tempo to another as these five guys pummel and punch their way through buzzing guitars and aggressive vocals packed with more than enough energy to overthrow governments.