Here at NCS we premiered the song “Myriapod Constructology I” in early January, and last week Islander included Virulency’s full stream of their debut album The Anthropodermic Manuscript of Retribution.
So I was given the opportunity to give my thoughts on what happens to be my favorite BDM release so far in 2016. I know it’s early, but have to say that the album has been constant in my playlist.
As mentioned in the earlier posts, the band is from The Basque Country of Spain and formed around 2011, the year in which they released a two-song promo. The following year they released their EP Unbearable Martydom Landscapes. I must admit that when I heard about the band in 2013, I only heard a song from that EP, which I liked, but I never managed to listen to all the songs. It was when New Standard Elite signed them that I bought a copy of the EP (shame on me). Once I gave that release a proper listen, I understood why the best label in the genre decided to signed them.
Flash forward to 2016 and we get The Anthropodermic Manuscript of Retribution, a name that (combined with the cover art) was inspired by “Anthropodermic bibliopegy”, the practice of binding books in human skin. Though extremely uncommon in modern times, the technique dates back to at least the 17th century. The practice is inextricably connected with the practice of tanning human skin, often done in certain circumstances after a corpse has been dissected.
As always, I decided to listen to their previous EP again first and then continue to the full-length. I wanted to see the progression of the band musically, and determine if they had changed drastically. I have been disappointed before when a band released a great EP and I then found a following full-length to be so-so. Nevertheless, this is not the case with Virulency. Sure, there are changes, such as in the production. It feels more natural and it enhances the sound of all the instruments, which you can hear clearly in each of the eight songs.
Among my favorites things so far are the vocals and the bass. The reason I mention this is because the performance of Mr. Pernia (Vocals) is astonishing; he tried new things with a predator’s delivery in some parts, and his gutturals are very strong. Basically, I felt his performance is way better and more diverse than on the EP. And the performance of Mr. Disjorge (Bass) WITH THE FRETLESS BASS (which is very, very listenable through the whole album) is flawless!!!! I mention both because I believe both are responsible for part of the ferocity you get while listening, making you feel as if you are there in the library, witnessing the binding of the books.
Mr. Asier (Guitar) and Mr. Ramirez (Drums) are both the reason for the diversity in the structure of the songs. The riffs are just catchy as hell, as well as varying. The drums are executed with precision and with a brutal delivery; the man is pure talent.
As Islander mentioned in his post, Paolo Chiti (Devangelic, ex-Putridity) and Konstantin Luhring (Despondency, Revulsed, and ex-Defeated Sanity) make guest appearances, and when they do appear they add so much depth in that precise moment of the song.
Overall, as mentioned, this album is my favorite BDM release of 2016, and I’m confident that it’s one debut album that shall pass the test of time in my favorite debut releases by any band.
If you are in the US you can pick up a copy or merch at New Standard Elite’s Big Cartel:
If you are in Europe the band has a Bandcamp page, where you can get digital copy of the album.