In its debut album Death is the Desired Ending, the Dutch solo project Sfeerverzieker invites you to “Embrace depravity, Embrace brutality”. Consistent with that invitation, the songs’ lyrical themes are themselves centered on “brutality, misery, negativity, and the destruction mankind brings to this world”.
But as is sometimes true of metal spawned by such negative and nihilistic thoughts, the music of Sfeerverzieker, which broadly could be summed up as an atmospheric amalgam of sludge, doom, and post-metal, expresses them in ways that are often brimming with vitality and stunning in the scale of their power. Wide-ranging in their variations, the songs are often unmistakably disturbing and devastating in both their sonic force and their emotional impact, but also relentlessly captivating.
We have two striking examples of these accomplishments today, one of them a song that has already debuted but which you might have missed, and the other a track we’re presenting for its first public airing.
The album’s first “single”, “Sentenced“, is a long one, nearly nine minutes, and it proves to be multi-faceted and distressing in many ways, as if a reminder of the grim sentence of death that awaits us all.
At first a slowly strummed guitar rings in somber and sorrowful tones, but the intensity soon swells with the advent of roiling and writhing riffage, fiery and flickering leads, steady booming drums, and harsh cries. The guitars still ring, but the mood is one of despair. When the drums vanish, a guitar plaintively wails a hopeless yet entrancing melody.
There comes a point when the sounds become strange and unsettling — a collage of skittering and screeching tones that sound mad. Tumbling drums re-emerge, but don’t quell the madness. The music swells again, the chords crashing, the voice spilling out agony, the melody crying out with soul-shattering intensity. Those other unnerving sensations reappear, but the song continues climbing to towering and daunting heights of vast calamity — yet it ends softly, with ghostly strummed chords distantly spaced, the sentence having been passed..
Today’s new song, “Masters of Insanity“, is much shorter by comparison, and as its title suggests, it’s more crazed in its aspect. Make no mistake, there’s still an aura of grandeur generated by the momentous percussive booms, the throbbing bass, and the slashing guitars, but the screamed vocals are unhinged and those brazen chords sound wild as well as imperious.
The music will probably make your body want to heave to and fro, but the song is a jolting and jabbing one too. It hits at a visceral level, as well as generating visions of haughty but harrowing magnificence.
Sfeerverzieker is the work of Sven Post (the Flesh, Grim Van Doom, Blood Diamond), who first presented this project in early 2022 through the release of a 3 track demo named Wrath of the Child. Sven again does everything on the debut album, and this time mixed and mastered it himself.
Death is the Desired Ending is due out on October 28th, and it’s recommended for fans of Neurosis, Cult of Luna, and High On Fire.