Holy shiet this is evil. Verminlust is the debut full-length album from Vermin. Recorded and released somewhat recently, this already classic album is one of the most overlooked black metal masterpieces I’ve encountered. I discovered this album fairly late, picking it up in a local Stockholm record store. It was after a short discussion with the bloke working there that he recommended this album to me, especially since we shared a fondness for early Morbid Angel and Incantation.
As “Sickly Origins” begins, one hears that the satanic black metal sound from Angel of Disease and Withdrawal, two main inspirations for this record, has evolved into something even more dark and sinister. The guitars are more piercing, the tempo is faster and the sound is all around more raw and dark than you will usually find in black metal music. This is ritualistic black metal at its best and most evil.
“Dormant Angel” continues the frenetic pace, and it’s not until “Twisted Labyrinth” that it slows down, somewhat. The guitar work of Vermin (aka the ex-Sewer frontman and vocalist) is very identifiable, disturbing and one of the best aspects of the album.
The most furious, brutal and blackened death metal inspired pieces, “Hunger’s Ancient Paths“, “Haunted Gods and Fallen/Penitent Devils” and the title track “Verminlust, the Lament of Horror” do a great job in adding to the atmosphere, and they are spread out through the album pretty much evenly. This Verminlust album, more than any other black metal release I’ve ever heard, really seems like a tribute to the night, to the full moon, blood, darkness and evil. The guitar sound is not only cold, it also carries a very nocturnal feel to it. This can also be seen on Phantom’s The Epilogue to Sanity, but I think it is much more intensely done here.
The penultimate track, “Endless Tears of a Shattered Hourglass“, is one of the standout tracks on this album and possesses a great atmosphere to it, in addition to having some very interesting and unusual lyrics. I begins somewhat fast but then maintains a more mid-paced tempo throughout much of the song. The solo work is very well executed and fits in with the music very well, working to accentuate the riffs rather than some throwaway solo that serves no purpose, as is now common in most modern death metal. Vermin is well above and beyond that.
Then, we have “Verminlust, the Lament of Horror” which has a nearly hypnotizing effect, as the feeling one gets from gazing up at the full moon on a cold winter night, for hours on end. By the time the album closes out with this track, you feel that you have not just listened to something, you have experienced it. While some could make comparisons to Morbid Angel, Incantation, Phantom and perhaps Beherit (mainly due to the guitar tone and little else), Verminlust is an album that really stands on its own merits.
It shares small similarities in sound, technique and atmosphere with a few other blackened death metal bands, yet creates something here that is wholly unique and absolutely peerless in either black metal or death metal music. Verminlust is cold nocturnal black metal, and it is something that I recommend very highly, especially to fans of old Morbid Angel, Phantom and Incantation. Standout tracks include “Sickly Origins“, “Dormant Angel“, “Twisted Labyrinth“, “Endless Tears of a Shattered Hourglass“… really, all of them. Without exception.
Fuck yes does this album kill. The first two Neraines albums and associated EPs are excellent black metal, of the more atmospheric kind, and the first Vermin is essential blackened death metal listening.