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Verberis - The Apophatic Wilderness review

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Band: Verberis
Album: The Apophatic Wilderness
Style: Black metal, Death metal
Release date: March 2024

01. The Emptying Of God
02. Labyrinthine Privation
03. Arteries Unto Ruin I
04. Arteries Unto Ruin II

A tale in four chapters. An image of man cast into the house of Abaddon.

Back when I covered Verberis' previous record, 2022's Adumbration Of The Veiled Logos, I spent a lot of time talking about the differences and the similarities between black and death metal in regards to how well they can be tied and how well Verberis themselves tied them. The description of Deathspell Omega's dissonant black metal meeting Ulcerate's dissonant death metal rings even more true now because back then I could only conclude from context and drumming style that the drummer credited as JSM was actually Ulcerate's Jaime Saint Merat, something that has since been confirmed. Even if not all the band members' identities have been confirmed, we now also know that Verberis has lineup ties with The House Of Capricorn, Creeping, and Heresiarch.

So even if a tiny bit of the veil of mystery has been unveiled through the lineup and the word salad on Bandcamp is less severe, there's still something quite cryptic about Verberis, mostly in regards to how esoteric the subject matter and how that's something that does go hand in hand with the blackened death sound. A lot of what I said about Adumbration Of The Veiled Logos still fundamentally counts for The Apophatic Wilderness as well, in that there hasn't been a huge stylistic shift. The most obvious shift is structural. The Apophatic Wilderness is more than 15 minutes shorter than its predecessor, being comprised of four tracks of roughly equal length, and thus it feels even more intentional in structure and how that long-form songwriting ties with the album's cryptic sense of conceptuality. More philosophically inclined folks than me might be able to decipher what that concept actually pertains to.

Even if they operate fundamentally similarly sound-wise, there are some small shifts that The Apophatic Wilderness does. It feels like less of a pummeling suffocating album at its harshest and as a whole compared to its predecessor, with some of that harshness instead being channeled to create a tinge of progressiveness and complexity that works well with the use of dissonance on the record. Like obviously a record with lineup and stylistic ties to Ulcerate would be intricate, especially as far as the drum goes, but a lot of the structures mostly as far as the guitar goes do push further into that direction, with some extra kudos to how some sections deliver some tasty bass melodies. Some of the album's flow and sound has a very weirdly psychedelic feel, that might also be due to the mixing being handled by Richard Behrens, who mostly but not exclusively worked more with acts like Samsara Blues Experiment or Black Salvation.

Even if the listening experience left a slightly diminished impact compared to its predecessor, there's a lot to appreciate in The Apophatic Wilderness in how it doesn't try to fully imitate what worked with Adumbration Of The Veiled Logos.

Written on 09.04.2024 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.

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