It was not too long ago that I reviewed COMMUNIC's debut full-length "Conspiracy in Mind", for this very site. My rating of 7 was an indication of what I believed to be stellar musicianship and adventurous compositions that recalled the likes of NEVERMORE with more prog elements, but that somehow seemed to be missing that certain something that made me want to return for repeat listens. Regardless, several publications lauded that album as a masterpiece of sorts. I can now say without hesitation that the certain "something" that seemed to be missing, at least to these ears, has been located and injected into the music of "Waves of Visual Decay", making the seven songs infinitely more memorable without sacrificing an ounce of musical creativity or compositional grandness.
Throughout "Waves of Visual Decay", the band maintains a riff-based heaviness joined by textured and powerful percussion, while melody is always present, whether in tuneful choruses or ethereal wisps. The classy and NEVERMORE-esque muscular thrash-by-way-of-power-metal is heard most pointedly on songs like "Under a Luminous Sky" and "Fooled by the Serpent", right down to vocalist/guitarist Oddleif Stensland's Dane-ish style, which this time even includes the occasional Halford shriek. In other cases the same riff-heavy approach is joined by clean-picking airiness and brooding atmosphere, coupled with a passionate vocal performance (i.e. "Watching it all Disappear", "At Dewy Prime", and the title track). "My Bleeding Victim" is notable for its stuttering chug and memorable chorus. The real showstopper is "Frozen Asleep in the Park", a chilling piece about a troubled women's untimely demise. The peaks and valleys, the flowing leads, and the eerie beauty of it all reminds of what makes an album like NEVERMORE's "Dreaming Neon Black" such a tour de force. Finally, session keyboardist Endre Kirkesola enhances the arrangements, only softening the edges when called for by the arrangement.
The key to the success of "Waves of Visual Decay" is the way in which the songs are challenging from a progressive standpoint, yet as lengthy as some of these tracks may be, not a one ever seems excessive. The best bands take the listener on a journey, one that is full of surprises and not soon forgotten. Such as the case with COMMUNIC. The Norwegians have found their groove and will undoubtedly continue churning out timeless releases.