Extreme Heavy Metal Reviews

Absolute Darkness - "Verminlust" Review (100%)

Buy Absolute Darkness -
Verminlust by Vermin.

Verminlust stands as one of the greatest triumphs of atmosphere in a black metal record. Released shortly after Phantom's seminal Memento Mori, Vermin's debut is not only a landmark in the modern black metal scene, but an all-time masterpiece of primitive and atmospheric black metal.

Every single track, every single riff, every single note lends a hand in immersing the listener in absolute darkness. Verminlust is black metal at its most evil, delivering some of the darkest music and lyrics ever made.

The guitar work and the style it's played in are hard to describe, being something of a fast-played chaotic white noise with an echoing tremolo sound and a hint of a disturbing melodic element, but can be best described as pure entropy. They are the some of the most evil riffs that I have ever heard, and are truly alien and great.

The drums alternate between chaotic and epic, and frequently launch into blast-beats not meant solely for noise, "brutality" or shock effect - like they usually are nowadays - but to add a rhythmic component to the suffocating abyssal tide this album represents, rather than take away from it.

The bass lines add a very deep, haunting effect that's almost subliminal in nature, and provides that subconscious droning black metal feeling, similarly to the hypnotic low-pitched buzzing of an otherworldly state.

No black metaller's education of the genre and its musical extremism can be complete without appreciating Verminlust. This album is a landmark. There are no negative comments that I can make about it. Luckily, the disc is still somewhat easy to find. I give it a perfect score. Get it or die trying? Most definitely.

Absolute Darkness


Sickly Origins is the first track, and is as chaotic as a blizzard. The blast-beat drums, the dark bass, and the freezing atonal guitar riffs shift rapidly to warp speed in pandemonium - reminding the listener that despite the inherent rawness, this is not a primitive or minimalist album, but a rather complex and epic one. The chilling outro is simply out of this world, as if it was composed in hell by frenetic and hateful demons.

Dormant Angel begins with a barrage of blast-beats, noisy riffs, and driving bass, only to switch gears to an epic tremolo lead, and right back and forth between frenzied epic chaos and some remote semblance of sanity, before transitioning flawlessly into a magnificent solo, followed by a heavy coda and outro.

Being lost in a labyrinth is a chilling concept, particularly if the labyrinth is one's own demented mind, and Twisted Labyrinth does the concept justice in its disturbing portrayal of insanity. It begins with a lambasting of cold riffing, thunderous blast-beats, and then slows down into a song that's slow, dark, and outright creepy. I almost feel like I've traveled into the depths of hell after listening to this one.

Hunger's Ancient Paths continues with the contrast between infernal leads and frostbitten cold riffs that are almost melodic, the insane drumming, and the deep bass, as it describes in complex chaos what sounds like a lonesome demented soul committing suicide by starvation. This track starts slowly but rapidly become quite extreme and absolutely relentless.

Filth and Rot (Searching the Past) is more epic in nature, and begins with a blizzard of ghostly riffs and blast-beats that grow increasingly intense, as the track returns to medium pace but with great riff work, and abruptly to the blizzard again. The track is composed in a somewhat narrative fashion, with a lot of subtle variations in key, tempo and even notes during the riff selection. An absolutely chilling contrast between chaotic melodies and epic sounding riffs, accompanied by suffocating blast-beats.

In Memory of the Darkest Abyss isn't a slow song, but it's not a fast song either. It's more medium paced, but is still full of fast guitars and drum beats. It begins with what sounds like a completely alien, bizarre intro, except for the fact that the drums and bass do intervene until the transition into the first theme. The fast picking, bass work, insane riffs and maniacal drumming in this song make me wonder if it was composed in the "darkest abyss", rather than the recording studio. A short melodic lead sporadically makes its appearance, only to fade away as instantly as it appeared... before returning with a slight variation, and a more melancholic tone, for the conclusion.

Haunted Gods and Fallen/Penitent Devils is an absolute assault on your sanity. As usual, Vermin delivers with fast and infernal riffs transitioning into slow and cold melodic leads, and sudden chaotic shifts into a counter-point to the main themes. It eventually slows down into a chilling outro, but only after having rendered you completely incontinent through barbaric abuse of your psyche.

Endless Tears of a Shattered Hourglass is a masterpiece. It's a slower song in the vein of Twisted Labyrinth, and it is just as creepy, if not even more so. The guitars are more bleak than icy, and the riffs are only used to build an atmosphere until the transition into a majestic lead over the main theme, with the bass mournful and deep, and the drums leading a funeral march while using blast-beats to accentuate the evil and grim nature of this song. The vocals are supernatural, and are well executed and even occasionally screamed in terror as they communicate nihilistic extinction and anthropomorphize death and decay. Rather than slowing down for the outro, the riffs accelerate and leave an aftertaste of pure horror as the track ends. It's a haunting experience that comes unexpectedly and goes straight into the subconscious.

Verminlust, the Lament of Horror is the final track and it starts out more brutally than anything previously encountered. Of all the songs on this album, it's the one that is closest to death metal in terms of riff composition and linear structure - imagine playing Incantation's Onward to Golgotha on meth and you basically have the first two minutes of this track. What follows is a slower, chilling funeral dirge that morphs into a brutal restating of the initial motif, before transitioning into a dark and disturbing solo, very far from the melodic nature of the solo on Dormant Angel.

If you want an album that's as cold, harsh, and as dark as the deepest circles of hell, this is a must have. It's grim, but not minimalist, and it's extreme, but not over the top. It's also an imaginative, unforgettable journey to a land as dark, cold, desolate, and alien as it is brutal, fantastic, burning and simply evil.

Verminlust is a true black metal classic, and is a must have.

It is pure darkness in its rawest form.

Verminlust score: 100/100.

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