Title: Lurkers in the Capsule of Skull
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Release Date: 24 September 2021
Format Reviewed: Digital download
Sometimes the familiar can bring great pleasure. Lurkers in the Capsule of Skull, the new album by mysterious Extreme Metal duo Veilburner, provides that warm glow, not because the music fits snugly into a well-worn musical genre (it definitely doesn’t), it’s familiar because it sounds like one band only and that band’s name is Veilburner. The last time these rich, cacophonous layers of heavily processed guitars and wild banshee vocals were on display was on the band’s previous release A Sire to the Ghouls of Lunacy at the tail end of 2018. Now the follow-up is upon us and oh what a marvellous thing it is too.
For those already familiar with the band, Lurkers in the Capsule of Skull picks up right where A Sire to the Ghouls of Lunacy left off. As before the band seamlessly glide between breakneck Thrash and Death Metal riffing and mind-warping, seasick, dissonance, with allusions to anything from Groove Metal, to Black Metal, to Alt Rock, to dark Cabaret, all of it delivered with the unmistakable rubbery, twisted guitar and layered effects that multi-instrumentalist and producer Mephisto has been honing over the course of the band’s extremely fruitfall existence (this being the band’s fifth album in eight years).
However that’s just half of the excellence of the band, the other key component being vocalist Chrisom, who not only delivers all the range you could ask of an Extreme Metal vocalist (from growls and screams to make Corpsegrinder proud, to whispers and shrieks as the music requires), but also provides the great art direction and suitably twisted story underpinning the whole record. This and the band’s previous album in fact are inexorably intertwined. Stay tuned for our interview with the band where they throw some light on the story that connects the two albums. In the meantime, you can probably glean some ideas from the album cover and the titles of both this and previous release.
Highlights to pull out from this eight song, near sixty minute beast are many, from the great lead guitar work of album opener The Tomb of Dreaming Limbo, to the infectious grooviness midway through the rollicking Cursed, Disfigured, Amen!, or the rabid vocal delivery of An Odyssey Through Cataclysm. The album also has great pacing. Though much of it is delivered at breakneck pace with obscenely fast mechanised drumming, the band know just when to insert their lurching, spinning breaks, ambient passages, or the spooky tribal feel that carries the opening passages of Nocturnal Gold. The most notable shift in pace comes just at the right moment, slap bang in the middle of the album, with Para-opaque, a track driven by a spacy, Tool-esque bassline and Chrisom’s ghoulish whispers digging into your ears.
After the mid-album palette cleanser the album kicks back into full gear with two absolute belters in the form the previously mentioned An Odyssey Through Cataclysm (which could be the album’s most aggressive track) that features some extremely nibble Thrash riffing, then Vault of Haunting Dissolve, which fades in with a great, mesmerizing guitar line before lurching to and fro like a rabid ogre pumped full of meth in a straightjacket. Final track Dissonance in Bloom meanwhile comes in exactly like the name suggests a blooming, dissonant wave, before again transitioning through a delightful poisoned garden of head-spinning riffs, guitar leads, monstrous voices like thick, black smoke and bowel perforating drums.
All in all I can’t really speak highly enough of this album. Veilburner already demonstrated on their previous release that they’re one of the most ingenious and strange bands operating in the extremes of Metal. Not only do they know how to absolutely rip it up at will, but their tracks are absolutely jammed full of memorable riffs, melodies and textures. If you’re a fan of Extreme Metal and you aren’t already on the Veilburner train it’s time to get on board. Choo choo mutha fuckas 10/10 Tom Boatman
10/10 : Immortal Classic
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