Toronto, ON tech-death trio Viledriver offer up seven manic, crushing tracks on their debut album, Primary. With guitarist Chris Sokoloski and drummer Aaron Pozzer — both previously members of much adored progressive tech-metal outfit Starring Janet Leigh — on board, the band highlight their penchant for technicality but also focus more of their attention on unrelentingly heavy, catchy riffage.
Although tracks like "Gnaw Your Tongue" and "Embedded in Stone" blend avant-garde melodies and chaotic time signatures, they're anchored by memorable rhythms and pummelling drum work. Viledriver keep things interesting; "Gates of Horn and Ivory" and "Fleemarkt" contain fast, angular leads and unorthodox structures, while "Your Religion Has Failed You" features a surprising jazzy interlude to close things off.
Dustin Patkai's dynamic vocals range between gutturals and screams, yet never waver on the intensity front, which adds to the record's insistent vibe. Clocking in at 27 minutes, Primary is a solid debut effort that gets right to the point and maintains substance throughout. (CDN)