Sunday, July 31, 2011
Verge - Sex & Violence (2011)
Country: Jyväskylä, Finland
Style: Depressive/Atmospheric Black Metal
Label: Descending Towards Damnation
Verge is quite a different band, they really are doing things differently than other bands, maybe not in the best ways, but they are different. Depressive and atmospheric black metal, of this brand, in my experience doesn't usually come from Finland. I first found these guys through their split last year with Blood Red Fog in which they really showcased a very different sound to almost anything else I'd heard in black metal.
Unlike a good chunk of the depressive/suicidal and even atmospheric black metal scenes, what set these guys apart was a sense of dissonance and chaos not found in other groups. The use of feedback, rough and harsh sounding production, scathing throaty snarls, and odd riffs that aren't that common from black metal really impressed me on that split, last year's "Because It's Wrong." The band also makes frequent use of samples, not that I have any idea as to what they're from, but they all convey a similar sense of distress and sorrow.
Now, what I find the weirdest thing about this record is that it appears like the band are trying to achieve what Shining, the Swedish one, had done on their landmark fifth album, "V - Halmstad." I'm not saying that's a bad goal, because I actually think it's a pretty decent view to take on a sound like this, songs are becoming a lot more focused, less dissonance and frantic outbursts, more melody is being introduced into the band, and those are not bad things at all. The riffing and melodies have gotten a lot more memorable, showcased in tracks like On The Verge and Sex & Violence III: Pride. This is a much more controlled album, less outbursts into more avant-garde-ish territory and reeled into a much better song. Much like Shining, most of these songs are mid-paced and just sort of moving along without going too crazy.
In the end I did find myself enjoying this album more than I had originally thought. While this is nothing spectacular, it has moments of originality and definitely has a much improved sense of songwriting. Check this out if you're into melodic based atmospheric or depressive black metal.
Overall Score: 7.5
Highlights: Death's Coitus, Pride and Vanity, Sex & Violence II: Hate