One of the most exciting new offerings the scene has ever witnessed.
Despite the obvious influential debt Viza owe to System Of A Down maestro-turned-manager Serj Tankian, few bands can pull off a feat quite so entertaining and daringly original as the manic, Middle Eastern romp that is 2012's 'Carnivalia'. And while Los Angeles may be the city the nine-piece presently call home, their respective Armenian, Greek and Arabic roots run far deeper than the simple, good-time tunes of the region's over-saturated glam rock scene.
Fiercely infectious from the frantic, gypsy-flavoured off, this untamed beast of a full-length unites the adrenalin-fuelled worlds of folk and swaggering rock with a fiendish eccentricity that's rivalled only by the exceptional talent exhibited by this accordion-wielding mob of musicians. Led by the bombastic vocal talents of roguish frontman K'noup, every inch of 'Carnivalia' positively oozes personality, with each track spanning a spiralling course of exhilarating Eastern melodies, thigh-slapping choruses and ferocious fits of aggression.
With its rocking, instantly-recognisable hooks, a choice cover of The Doors' 'Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)' ranks top of the album's most instantly appealing highlights. Spiked with an exotic wealth of souped-up folk trappings, there's no doubt that Viza have made this classic number their own, but it's the deliciously deranged likes of 'Hourglass' that see this talented troupe at their most imaginative. Laden with a lush mix of notey, Arabic flourishes and tinkling piano keys, this breakneck-paced standout is served with a generous measure of smouldering riffage and Queen-style vocal harmonising, striking an impeccable balance between high drama and savage aggression. Like the most restless of wandering outlaws, 'Shall We Reign Dance?' meanders across a quirky gamut of pummelling beats, stirring psychedelia and rousing gang vocals.
Free from mainstream rock's tame, sing-along trends and predictable, chorus-laden filler, this rare blend of catchiness and eccentric charm makes for one of the most exciting new offerings the scene has ever witnessed.