Black/death metal band Verberis has been on my radar since their earlier days, as 2014 demo Vastitas brought a flurry of chaotic riffs and immense energy with it that showcased a bit more technical precision than some of their peers. By the time their debut full-length Vexamen arrived in 2016 the group had shifted significantly, still offering fluid and frantic riffing but utilizing a guitar forward tone that recalled earlier black metal like Mortuary Drape. By the time 2018’s Vorant Gnosis arrived Verberis had shifted again, writing sprawling arrangements that brought together that harsher riffing with periods of slower yet still dark atmosphere. With this type of shift from one release to the next, it’s natural that some listeners have clicked with certain approaches and not others, and with album number two Adumbration of the Veiled Logos there have once again been tweaks. Coming in like a natural progression of everything the band has worked with so far while adding more dissonance into the mix, it’s a more immediate listen while also offering plenty of details underneath the surface.
If you’ve spent any time with Verberis’ back catalog, the most noticeable difference Adumbration of the Veiled Logos brings to the table is its production. There’s enough clarity for the twisted melodies to shine during the more chaotic moments, but plenty of weight behind each instrument that makes this material feel genuinely powerful. It comes across as the most complete picture of the band’s sound to date, adding density and aggression during the blasting and swirling passages while opening up during the calmer ones to allow every drum hit and note to expand outwards with a darker atmosphere. Verberis has incorporated even more dissonance and twisting, swirling riffing than I remember from their past efforts, and while that is likely to draw comparisons to a slew of other bands that go for this type of black and death metal the songs still come together in ways that make this album stand out. Sometimes I’m reminded of Aosoth or even Bølzer, while closing track “I Am the Father and the Tomb of the Heavens” has tonality so dense and weighty that it brings Teitanblood to mind. You’re likely to draw comparisons to other artists depending on what you’ve spent your time listening to, but the quality of the writing puts Verberis up there with some of the better ones out there. Even with many tracks running between nine to twenty minutes, the group keeps you intrigued from beginning to end and lets natural pauses tie together their more intense passages. I’m also a big fan of how during the more chaotic sections the band layers these twisted melodies over top of the churning foundation that find ways to get under your skin, and it’s kept me returning again and again. Admittedly the slow and methodical build-up of “Ennoia” does feel a bit overstretched, but this is a minor nitpick in what is otherwise a stunning listen.
The vocal work retains a similar chaotic and aggressive sound as the instrumentals, and despite the density of the production the screams and growls often tower above the rest of the band. Opener “Sepulchre of Shattered Saints” unleashes a torrent of nightmarish growls and screams before settling into a raspier pitch. Again the approach is familiar, but there’s so much intensity that you can’t help but be captivated by every verse. There are subtle shifts in tone throughout the album that keep the vocals feeling razor sharp even as the songs sprawl outwards, and the way different pitches are layered makes them hit even harder. “Ennoia” does add in some distant spoken word that shakes things up, but for the majority of the album Verberis keeps things as harsh as possible.
Verberis’ second full length merges the more abrupt and chaotic approach of their earlier days with the measured, lengthy explorations of their most recent EP while adding in more dissonance and blasting. It does come through as very familiar to some of the other dissonant black and death out there, but the subtle nuances keep the songs exciting and allow for some of the twisted melodies and destructive transitions to stick with you over repeat listens. That balance of immediacy with subtle details that stand out over time makes a difference, and when you add in how polished and precise each attack is that makes this the group’s best offering to date. Adumbration of the Veiled Logos is available from NoEvDia.
-Review by Chris Dahlberg
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to share it with others to help us grow. You can also like and follow us on the social media of your choice with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and support us on Patreon.