If performed live in a club, Verwüstung’s new album Gospel Ov Fury would leave most people ringing wet and gasping for air. Their brand of feral black thrashing mayhem is relentlessly propulsive and thoroughly evil, persistently capable of channeling berserker-level chaos and triggering all sorts of fast-twitch muscle fibers, including the ones in your neck (though most people can’t headbang this fast, even they’ll want to).
Gospel Ov Fury will be released by Handful of Hate on May 1st, though there’s way more than a handful of hate in these nine songs. But while viciousness and rage set these songs on fire, these demonic Belarusians also happen to be skilled song-writers and top-shelf technicians. Not content merely to fly like the wind, or even to pack their songs with one virally infectious riff after another, they’ve paid attention to the appeal of dynamism, as you’ll discover for yourselves through our premiere of a complete album stream at the end of this post.
The album delivers enough full-throttle thrash and speed metal to gorge a hungry hesher, but the songs also include blasts of scorching blackened hellfire, escapades of punk-like romping, and chances to rock out like a madman. Even at top speed, the instrumentalists frequently shift gears and create new patterns in the riffs and the rhythms. Even when they’re locked into one particular riff, the extravagant drum fills are putting on a show of their own.
The album opener (“The Ashen Communion”), simply because of it’s above-average length, is the most fully expressed example of the band’s compositional dynamism (and about the only place on the album when you’ll find the tempo dropping below highway cruising gear or the hurtling pace of a speed demon with afterburners engaged). But the gruesome, lurching gait at the outset of the song (accompanied by a pulsing riff and a grumbling bass) doesn’t last long. The drums rumble and the riffing becomes more heated, and after a roiling guitar bridge the song takes off in full-on mosh mode, and eventually becomes a rampant melee, pushed to further heights of ferocity by the vocalist’s flesh-eating goblin shrieks, followed by a semblance of simmering misery and broiling agony.
While the following songs are less variable in their pacing than the opener, they still keep listeners on the edge of their seats. “The Purge”, for example, is a prime example of incinerating hyper-speed savagery, but it’s packed with riffs, while “Hellfire Rock ‘n’ Roll” unleashes blast-beats and swarming black metal fury — as well as swirling fretwork lunacy, piston-like rhythms, and an exultant extended guitar solo (there aren’t many solos among these songs, which makes them even more scintillating when they do appear).
The band also do afford chances for people whose necks don’t move as fast as the band do to bang their heads to some big off-speed grooves. “Madness Closing In” provides one such chance, in the midst of sadistic, skittering fretwork and a hard-charging drive, and there’s another prime opportunity in “Impulse To Kill”, which is otherwise vicious and cruel. The band are also capable of putting on displays of stunning violence, perhaps best demonstrated through the incendiary and hammering chaos of “BAALTZELMOTH”, though it’s the murderous black thrash of “Dissolution” (which is also a heavyweight headbanger) that might be the album’s most infectious track of all.
The high energy of the album is so relentless that even the largely instrumental outro (“Unstoppable”) is a thundering thrasher. You have to respect the fact that the band are so devoted to what they’re doing that they didn’t let their foot off the gas and give us some kind of ambient keyboard finish, which on an album like this would have come off as bullshit.
You can pick out the band’s influences, going back into the ’80s, but the production is more razor-sharp than a lot of the music from the more violent thrash of that era or the first wave of black metal — and that’s all to the good. It’s a plus to hear the co-equal mix among the instruments, because all the performers are so damned good at what they’re doing.
To repeat, Gospel Ov Fury will be released by Handful of Hate on May 1st — and you can put in your order now: