Release: Carnivalia (Album)
Release Date: Out Now
Described as taking their influences from Arabic, Armenian and Greek traditions, Viza are a band encompassed by outside culture and brimming with imagination and artistry. ‘Carnivalia’ is something to be appreciated even if the music isn’t to everybody’s particular taste. It’s a curious and intriguing experience listening to this record; every song is awash with fascinating concepts, mental guitar melodies, and a general wackiness that has to be admired.
Title track ‘Carnivalia’ tells us everything we need to know about this band: it’s out of control, exciting and the word ‘mainstream’ is nowhere to be found. These are all good points and the songs continue to broaden our expectations as it’s hard to think of an album in recent times that thrusts you into a setting as much as this one. Viza do a brilliant job of making you feel like you’re there at the carnival, with the weirdness in abundance but the songs keeping up a high quality. What the album also does is bring about a sense of darkness and corruption underneath all the merry goings-on, and in doing so confirming that they really are a unique outfit.
The record ventures into the absolutely insane with ‘Sparring’ which starts out like a nursery rhyme and ends with a euphoric lead guitar and frenzied screams from frontman K’noup Tomopoulos whose range throughout the record changes from one minute to the next. Tomopoulos does a fantastic job of sounding genuinely sinister but also ranging from the flamboyant to the downright bizarre. It’s obvious throughout the record that Viza are influenced by System Of A Down and Serj Tankian who also produced the band’s previous album ‘Made In Chernobyl’.
However there are some songs on the album that just don’t seem to cut it compared to the rest of the material, for instance ‘Tricky Tricky’ gets very repetitive and isn’t a particularly inventive song, merely a filler track which doesn’t add anything to the album. The same can be said for ‘Everybody Wants Money’, where it feels like the band are trying too hard.
It’s great to see a band doing what they want to do and whatever you say about ‘Carnivalia’ it isn’t an album missing any creativity. Viza have made an album full of effervescent concepts without ever becoming pretentious, and they’ve also stuck to their own cultural influences which really has to be commended.
Reviewer: Greg Spencer