When does a song become high art instead of mere music? Every once in a while you come across an album that makes you question what you define as music. The tracks hit you like a wrecking ball (think the depravity of Nattefrost or the savagery of Romania’s Satanochio), they’re emotional and express an idea, but instead of rhythm and harmony, they’re far more experimental. They’re more noise than melody, bleeding rebellion and one could even say they’re anti-music. German experimental black metal band Vom Fetisch der Unbeirrtheit (V.F.d.U) have left me pondering the above questions with their new release Vertilger, due out later this month through Temple of Torturous.
As this is V.F.d.Us second full-length release, I delved back into their past to get a taste of where they originated from as opposed to where they are now. I discovered that 2010’s Psychohygiene has the feel of a more traditional, dirty, thrashy black metal album with some brief instances of experimentation – certainly nowhere near what appears on Vertilger. I’m pleased to see that V.F.d.U stepped out of their comfort zone and sought greater originality. Vertilger is a concept album (all in German) that deals with destruction, morbidity, decomposition and the human inability to fully comprehend the meaninglessness of existence [So, a feel good album of sorts, eh? — Steel Druhm]. The label promo boldly states “this piece is thrown to devour.” I’m guessing they meant to say something along the lines of – this piece is thrown to BE devoured – but in this instance their statement’s pretty accurate, devour it certainly does!
Your discomfort kicks off with the seven minutes of “Lachenvieh” which hits you from the get go with abrasive, trippy, stop-start, fuzzed-out guitar work and demented vocals that range from depraved black metal shrieks to disquieting, almost spoken gurgles. Leaving melody broken and beaten on the cutting room floor, the front-end oozes darkness and the “taking-the-piss-out-of-life” attitude of Carpathian Forest side project – Nattefrost. The rest of the track includes dance club electronics that carry through to the following songs with the added dynamic of industrial noise.
Imagine if you will, taking an Author & Punisher tune and ripping it up into pieces, throwing those pieces in the air, gathering the resultant chaos, tacking them back together with ugly uneven stitches, adding some carnival flavored guitar riffs and some Gollum-like vocals. The result is the 20-minute long dementia of “Schabenbrut” and the considerably shorter “Multiformale Leiberdimension.” If these don’t make you feel like you’re stuck in some alien world, nothing will! “Kadavermeer” and “Prothesensucht” (exceeding 10 minutes each) comprise the back-end of the album and make the slow and lengthy journey back from the depravity with a kind of gnarled attempt at melody that taunts but never really materializes.
The production on Vertilger falls into some kind of murky middle ground. There’s enough fuzz on the guitars and dampening of the drums to provide the tiniest hint of old-school nostalgia, but at the same time V.F.d.U have kept in mind the need for definition on the vocals, noise elements and dance-electronics and all come through with a sharp, stabbing clarity. The majority of the songs are excessively long and technical, dark as hell and after a single play through from start to finish you’re left feeling disturbed, uncomfortable, challenged, a little queasy and just down-right exhausted. To most people these would sound like a whole heap of negatives, but if you’re like myself and enjoy testing your limits and prefer your metal offensive and galling, Vertilger is about as unpalatable as it gets!