Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Release Date: 2 December 2022
Format Reviewed: Digital Download
Six albums into their career, the singular Dissonant Death Metal entity Veilburner returns with VLBRNR to conclude their strange and mysterious three-part concept piece of a frayed mind at the mercy of bizarre forces, all with their signature, hallucinogenic Extreme Metal musical stylings.
Veilburner is a band (well a duo) that’s too prolific for this temporal realm. While most take a moment to enjoy the release of a new piece of work, Mephisto Deleterio (music/ production) and Chrisom Infernium (vocals, lyrics and visual art) never sleep, it seems.
Following last year’s fantastic Lurkers in the Capsule of Skull, VLBRNR was apparently already in the can when its predecessor came out. With this latest release the duo’s thematic trilogy, which began with 2018’s A Sire To The Ghouls Of Lunacy, reaches its finale.
The album opens with “VI (Vulgar Incantations)” and the familiar rubbery, woozy, effects-soaked guitar tone of Mephisto. With fat, heavy programmed drums battering away and Chrisom veering between the most gravelly of Death Metal vocals and screams, like a demon from another dimension, the duo sounds as intense as ever.
With any Veilburner record there are certain familiar features — the maniacally fast Death Metal passages, the monstrous, alien atmosphere, the bizarre, careering shifts like some kind of Mr. Bungle from Mars — but with such an experimental and inventive project there will always be new avenues explored. VLBRNR is no exception in that regard, with the album showing more of a Thrash Metal side than the past couple of records.
“Lo! Heirs To The Serpent” is one example, with the intro bearing a passing resemblance to the stop/start impact of Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” before descending into that signature rubbery riffings and all kinds of mind-melting to-ing and fro-ing.
Elsewhere Mephisto shows off his guitar chops with some epic soloing. Album highlight “Repulsed by the Light”, after starting out like the banjo player at the start of Deliverance (if he ate asteroids for dinner), flies off into new realms of epicness as the music escalates.
With most of the tracks around the six minute mark, listeners can expect to be pulled this way and that on each track, with all sorts of delicious riffs, effects, lead guitar lines, crazy instrumental breaks and excellent vocal performances from Chrisom.
Sometimes the mind turns to Mr. Bungle, sometimes Slayer, sometimes King Crimson, sometimes even Primus (an alien, Metal Primus), as on the great “None So Hideous”. That last track features some really wacky riffs that Mephisto expertly plays lead over, as well as some later guitars that sound like brass instruments.
It would be unfair to reduce Veilburner to any neat description when they’re so creatively weird, but maybe the best that can be offered for a snappy description is that if you like really intense Extreme Metal, but also Mike Patton’s weirdest projects you should absolutely love Veilburner and this latest album is a fine introduction to what the band is about as well as a satisfying continuation from their previous records.
Perhaps not every track of VLBRNR hits the peaks of its majestic predecessor Lurkers in the Capsule of Skull, but Veilburner remain a duo existing in their own universe and an alien entity to be cherished by the Extreme Metal faithful. A delightfully weird near-sixty-minute descent into the mouth of madness 8.5/10 Tom Osman
8.5/10 To Greatness and Glory!
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