Even though we’re about to premiere a full stream of the debut self-titled demo by Veneficium, I don’t know who is in the band. They are reputed to be veterans of New Zealand’s metal underground, and that’s entirely believable because this demo is masterful at what it does. What it does is unleash a hellish cataclysm of abyssal black/death savagery — but with the kind of flair and dynamism that make this a bewitching terror.
The demo is produced in a way that gives it an immensely powerful and harrowing sound; you feel the bones in your skeleton vibrate down to your feet, and the earth beneath them seems to quake in massive tremors. Yet while the storm of distortion in the stringed instruments and the reverb effects in the vocals are what you would expect for this kind of sonic warfare, the production is perhaps surprisingly sharp; the murk is not so thick as to obscure all the interesting ingredients that make the music so riveting (and unsettling).