Verbum – Exhortation to the Impure Review

What’s in an identity? In a world where often we have knowledge at our fingertips, it’s frustrating when information just isn’t there. Promo material for Verbum has no names attached at all, and though I am a high-level Google-fu practitioner, research into this band doesn’t yield much about members—but we do know they’re from Chile. Therefore, I can only conclude that on one particularly auspicious night deep in the Atacama, an unfortunate miner bored mistakenly into a mysterious, pulsating rock, releasing four cloaked metal demons from the underground. In 2016, they unleashed their first menacing sounds onto the world through their EP Processio Flagellates. Now, after six years of practice, touring, and sacrifice (lots and lots of sacrifices), Verbum has conjured their latest call to the underworld Exhortation to the Impure.

Though labeled deathdoom,1 Verbum absolutely does not play the Peaceville sound—these Chileans have manifested something far more sinister for their debut full-length release. Verbum leads us primarily with a funeral-paced, hate-drenched march that lurches toward oppressive blackened crescendos. Pouring this murk over classic, doom-length power chords, they churn already thick air into petrified atmospheres, aiming to swallow any classic sounds whole. It’s almost refreshing to hear the saunter of “Nihil Privativum” run through a meat-grinder when the double-kick onslaught begins. There’s no time to mope when you’re supine on the altar staring at the stone that threatens to split your chest.

The shadowy figure behind the kit plays a major role in the devilish developments on Exhortation of the Impure. They take all of six seconds to make themselves known in the hellscape of “Intro” with a thunderous tom barrage, pulling the assault back to make way for ominous whispers and crashing guitars (a spectral rhythm that we hear again in both “Silent Privativum” and the title track). And when the moment comes to close the curtains on “Outro,” the same power of their mighty sticks leave us with an echo against the emptiness. Their primal performance pounds loud and clear throughout this adventure, and it’s better for it.

Equally important to the summoning sounds that Verbum supplicates are the black-cloaked bellows of our diabolical bard.2 While many of their throaty croaks give reason to cry a ‘Hail Mary,’ the possessed poetry that makes up “Silent Oratorium” leaves me breathless in vain attempts to chant along. They find a resonance that comes close to capturing prolonged overtones—a feat that only adds to the otherworldliness of the track. Additionally, tortured choirs carry “Interlude I” and “Interlude II” allowing these segues to maintain the air of indoctrination. As the most blackened element of Exhortation to the Impure, these tangled vocal images stand as an essential element to maintaining a connection to the world below.

Verbum knows what they’re doing—they’ve built an uncomplicated sound that absolutely succeeds at building a soundscape that’s waiting to collapse. Even with an intro, two interludes, and an outro, at 35 minutes, this lamenting LP never listens like a chore; However, in its grueling conciseness, this album feels too put together—each riff remaining on a tab, each drum fill settled in the same low pocket, each howl resounding just a half-step away from true terror—I am safe in this Chilean chapel. While this bottle of blackened deathdoom may have been aged enough for this outing, with a little more time and decay, Verbum can ferment into something even more dangerous.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
Releases Worldwide: January 14th, 2022

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Decidedly different than doomdeath.
  2. Or bards? There’s likely only one vocalist throughout this but… who knows.
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