Verminous – The Unholy Communion (2013) Review

One of the forerunners of the Swedish death metal renaissance of the early noughties along with the likes of Kaamos, Repugnant, Paganizer among others, Verminous return after a decade with a welcome addition to the new old school oeuvre. As the old bands fell by the wayside, succumbing to simpler, accessible proclivities, the young guard took on the gauntlet injecting  much-missed vitality into the stale sub-genre. Verminous, in particular, were one of the more energetic upstarts, as often looking across the pond for inspiration in terms of attitude and aggression. While the tone and sound on The Unholy Communion has much in common with the regular Swedeath credo, there is an almost grindcore-like intensity to this music, a sublimation of most of the rocking, punk tendencies one associates with Swedish death metal.

Songs are played with a breathless fervour; even in the rare moments when Verminous slow down, there is a tangible, seething restiveness all too apparent to these chords; more  a chronic puncturing of the senses than any attempt at mood-melding. In many ways, Verminous resuscitate the ethic behind the Brazilian death metal of the 90s; single-minded in intent and delivery, a relentless battering, one-dimensional, no doubt, but certainly capable of weaving an opaque haze of crimson violence in the greater context. Standout riffs are often modeled after the serpentine, mid-tempo aspects of Morbid Angel, having a distinctly oriental flavor to them. Lead guitars eschew traditional Swedish pentatonic theatrics for a more atonal sound mixed in with a harmonic minor style; all coupled with the church-as-abattoir imagery to give these hymns of mayhem an almost debauchedly spiritual impression.

The Unholy Communion is death metal made by death metal fans for death metal fans. Verminous aren’t offering grandiose insights into the human condition here, just extremely competently played music dripping with vitriol, something a sub par production that frequently buries drums and vocals can’t really hurt. Irrational hate is much maligned but within reasonable extents it can be a curiously cleansing, liberating emotion. Without sense or reasoning but as sheer raw, hermetic expression of death metal, few releases this year compare.

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