Verberis – Adumbration of the Veiled Logos [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

I’ve probably banged on before about how much I love Ulcerate. Luckily for me, mastermind Jamie Saint-Merat has his fingers in quite a few other death metal pies. Verberis is one of them. The wordily titled Adumbration of the Veiled Logos takes the twisting disso-death that was the band’s staple, and ramps the atmosphere up to 11. ‘Adumbration’ means the state of being in shadow—making the title partly tautological—but also idiomatically refers to the act of giving a vague impression by way of rough explanation. Herein lies the album’s esoteric subject matter: an exploration of the mysterious and unreachable realm of the noumenal. This distant otherness, shrouded in unknowability, is well-manifested in the near-hour of void-like dissonant death metal. Waves of ethereal melody rise and fall to the surface in DA and MP’s guitars. Hypnotic patterns of JSM’s recognizable drumming circle. From the depths, NH roars the obscured words of philosophical searching and existential elucidation. Spanning five tracks—of which the final extends over twenty minutes—it almost merges into one evolving whole. That sounds like a lot, but the hour will come and go like nothing, because this music is deeply involving. Isn’t it true that if you stare long enough into the abyss, the abyss also will stare into you?1

This is dissonant death metal, and it’s not something you’ll be playing at your next dinner party. And it is also particularly weighty thanks to that lurking, smokey atmosphere. This brooding, restless calm peaks during the first act of “Severed Paragon,” rears its head with grim grace midway through “I am the Father and the Tomb of the Heavens,” and all of eerie “Ennoia.” The latter also includes oddly muffled spoken word that manages only to deepen the immersion through inaudibility, the unplaceable feeling of its importance. But even “Sepulchre of Shattered Saints,” which begins the album with such ferocious discordance, lapses into waves of reverberating guitar and gentle percussion. In a way, this is all fairly reminiscent of Ulcerate’s Stare into Death and be Still. Here though, there is a greater emphasis on evolution, enabled through long compositions. Rhythms and refrains that arise in one song are pulled out again in another (“Adamantine Amidst Transcience,” “Severed Paragon,” “Ennoia,” “I am…”). And that final, epic, “I am…” draws together musical and conceptual themes as it undulates between that same dark, musing, discordant fanaticism and apocalyptic assertion.

Trying to closely describe AotVL won’t really do it justice. I could talk about the strange beauty of the echoing plucks and surge of urgent riffing in “Severed Paragon.” I could talk about the mesmerizing waves of dissonant chords that lapse unnoticeably into assonance (“Sepulchre…,” “Adamantine…”). Or I could describe in detail the organized chaos of fluctuant time signatures and eventual, powerful denouement of “I am…” It is both intense and intensely irresistible. As usual, JSM’s command of the kit is impeccable and his rhythms dynamic. The prevailing melodic undercurrent is moody, insistent, and perfectly balanced between jarring barbedness and malevolent allure. If you like Ulcerate, or indeed atmospheric dissodeath in general, and you haven’t heard this, change that.

Tracks to Check Out: There’s only five and this thing is best experienced as one, but if I must: “Severed Paragon” and “I am the Father and the Tomb of the Heavens.”

Show 1 footnote

  1. Hey, Abyss—take a picture. It’ll last longer. – Holdeneye
« »