Monday, November 26, 2012

Class of 2012: Nihill - Verdonkermaan

Verdonkermaan is the third and final installment of Nihill's extreme metal trilogy that began with 2007's Krach and continued with 2009's Grond.  Many would view this as a difficult listen, and that's probably the reaction that this Dutch band aimed for when they started this project.

Verdonkermaan starts with "Vurr: the deathwind of resurrection," a noisy and rather punishing track.  The vocal delivery is top-notch, primarily of the black metal sort with a hint of a death growl at times.

Next comes "Spiral: the tail eater," considerably slower and hypnotic for its first 2 minutes.  This song and the next ("Oerbron: returning to the primal matter") are the album's high points.  "Oerbron" is more like the first track but takes an interesting turn from about 3:30 to 7:00.  During this section of the song, you'll hear howling and growling over avant-garde noise that very nearly becomes Sonic Youth-y.

Unfortunately, after such great heights, we're met with "Gnosis Pt. IV."  At nearly 7 minutes, it's too long and doesn't go anywhere.  It's basically whispering over atmospheric noise and is similar to parts 1-3 that appear on Krach.  It could perhaps be tolerable if it only lasted a couple of minutes or if it featured more intriguing background sounds.

The record ends with more of what works for Nihill.  "Trauma: crushing serpens mercuriales" is neither terribly fast nor slow yet chugs along and effectively brings the album to a close.

Verdonkermaan contains 4 songs that range from very good to great, but it also includes an unnecessary miscue. Nonetheless, it's still worth checking out, especially if you're a glutton for punishment.

Grade: B-  (80.0%)

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