Bizzaro Progressive Blackened Death

Sept. 27, 2016


Share This Review



Listen to Veilburner

This is avant-garde death metal band Veilburner from Pennsylvania.   The Obscene Rite, their latest album, is the final chapter in a conceptual trilogy begun with The Three Lightbearers.  "The ongoing lyrical theme of the trilogy has been transhumanism, the belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations. The characters at the center of this work are obsessed with and attempting to achieve immortality mainly through a combination of occult/spiritual/ritual means, plus dabblings in mad science and experimental technology. They draw inspiration from various philosophical schools of thought (Gnosticism and Nihilism in particular), and the kind of pseudo-scientific research that took place during different periods in history (like WWII and the cold war that followed)."

This is definitely one of the weirder releases I have heard this year.  The most dominant style at play seems to be blackened death, but it has been bastardized with experimentation beyond recognition.  Industrial, progressive, tech death, and other avant-garde touches all creep into the mix like a virus.  The resulting fever dreams and convulsions are quite impressive.  Take the 7 minute opener, "Postmortem Exordium," for example.  Horror movie synth, Outre-ish blackened howls, spiraling technical's enough to make one nauseous.  And that's only the beginning.  Most of the tracks on The Obscene Rite hover around this length and feature surprising twists and turns.

I'm racking my brain for a strong comparison.  The best I can think of is Ur Draugr, but even that fails to express all of the ins and outs.  I think that when Veilburner is in the zone and focused solely on proggy, discordant riffs and primal howls (see much of "Vagterchen"), the parallel stands firm.  However, when the audio samples, campy synths, theremin(?) and other experimentation start creeping in it wanders into unknown territory.  This is beyond doubt a good thing.  I love the more conventional, standard elements of this release, but it is the careful exploration of Fantomas-isms that push it into being something more memorable.

Veilburner have put together something special for us with The Obscene Rite.  The impressively ominous vocal performance and guitars channeling everything from Opeth to failing engines along with the schizophrenic drumming alone make this an impressive album.  But that's not enough for Mephisto; who is, surprise, behind ALL composition and instrumentation.  Aided only by his other half, Chrisom, on vocals and lyrics; he goes in like an autistic kid in a sandbox.  You know that boy is going to use every singe toy at his disposal and emerge with some sort of laser cannon.  Hear it to believe it.