Founded only recently in 2020, Black Metal quartet Verderbnis from Kassel have been steadily making a name for themselves on the European live scene and are now set to unleash their debut studio release Paria, a nine-track, fifty-minute offering that makes a strong listen.
Verderbnis – Paria (Black Sunset)
Release Date: 22 September 2023
Words: Jools Green
Verderbnis are a band that likes to think outside of the box when it comes to their approach to Black Metal, adding a progressive slant to their musical construction and delivery as well as superbly hypnotic, melodically soulful guitar elements. They still maintain that essential Black Metal rawness to the core of their sound, particularly in the vocal department, with lyrical inspiration taken from pagan or necromantic occult influences and lyrics in a mix of German and English.
Commencing with I Am The Wolf, with its initially thrashy opening riff expanding into blackened screams and driving blackened riffing with a subtle melodic undercurrent rearing its head regularly and an equally subtle symphonic keyboard element coursing beneath the surface periodically. The harsh vocals are complemented with cleans, which add an interesting retro-progressive feel. A complexly engaging start to the album.
Venemous Embrace unleashes a torrent of Black Metal vitriol upon the listener from the offset, assaulting your senses with a wall of acidic, searing vocals and driving blackened riffs which rise and fall hypnotically. I do like the straightforward approach of this track. It’s raw and also melodic, particularly when Verderbnis add slightly more complex twists in the second half.
Walking Through Forgotten Forests takes on a slower blackened plod. There’s a sharpness to the riffing, and it’s a very audio/visual piece in so much as the repeat melody gives a solid mental image of stomping your way through a forest. In the second half, you are treated to an extensive swathe of soaring leadwork coursing over the plodding repeat rhythm that dominates this track. A superb piece, straightforward but hugely effective.
Title track Paria is initially an up-tempo driving beast that undulates with menace, and the acidic vocal delivery impacts that dramatically. Then, it switches into a more melodic mode, with the pace gradually dropping away to a very reflective one that is cleanly delivered. A fascinating piece that is intriguingly unpredictable as to where the direction will switch to next, with the opening driving riffing returning briefly midway through the second half. The constant factor throughout is those acidic vocals.
Ominous blackened riffing and a protracted vocal roar greet you as Lebenswinters Wanderschaft opens. I love the slower, sinister, deliberate pace and the way it’s punctuated with melodic bursts, gradually developing a more undulating complexity as it progresses but always holding onto the sinister edge.
In a stroke of absolutely unpredictable brilliance mid-way through the second half, the pace drops away to a reflective swathe of acoustic guitar, then suddenly soars into a crescendo of thrashy leadwork. Another piece that is packed with surprises.
Des Kranichs Flug (The Crane’s Flight) is another sinister driving beast, assaulting your senses again with another wall of driving riffs and acidic vocals ebbing back to a more melodic mood in the second minute. It maintains a sinister aura, even when the vocals drop to a whisper. Midway, it builds to its former driving assault with the addition of a generous swathe of tasty leadwork, then ebbs back again towards the close.
Dusk Maiden delivers a slower pace. It’s a wonderfully haunting piece with undulating riffs that engage and enthral. Midway, you get clean backing choral vocals, which build on the atmosphere and contrast superbly with the main acidic vocals, followed by a beautifully haunting swathe of leadwork.
Ein Wind Flüstert den Tod (A Wind Whispers Death) is a superbly dark, atmospheric and reflective piece, again delivered at a slower pace. The lyrics are precisely delivered in a spoken manner, powerfully so in the second half, where you also get choral backing vocals and atmospheric keyboard work.
With a very progressive leaning to the blackened guitar sound, which continues from where the keyboards left off, you can’t fail to be moved by this piece whether you understand German or not. It tails off in the wistfully haunting manner in which it began.
In complete contrast, Satanizer Terrorizer opens up with a punch, rapidly switching to a Thrash-tinged blackened drive. The acidic, gravelly vocals cut a vicious swathe through the riffs. It also delivers haunting moments rich with keyboard embellishment and equally haunting, complex leadwork. Most importantly, it’s catchy and engaging as hell. A superb album closer that encourages another listen through, the sign of a great album.
Paria is a superb listen, a well-varied, well-thought-out, and well-delivered album that holds your interest from start to finish. It was completed at the end of 2022 with producer Torsten Sauerbrey (Atomwinter, Kambrium, Dark At Dawn, Burden of Grief) at Metalsound Studio with artworks, layout, and photos by Johanna Edler and will be available as a CD Audio (Jewel Case) across Europe and America through all the usual major distros.