Cascades Of Crimson Cruor
Review by Fernando on May 7, 2023.
An unholy Finnish and American alliance, Veriluola, is a blackened death metal band that spawned seemingly out of nowhere with a crushing demo back in 2020, and have now unleashed their full length album through Nameless Grave Records.
Since there’s not much on the band I’ll be brief. The mastermind seems to be the Finnish musician known as Santeri, who handles guitars and bass, and the band had a change of vocalists between the release of the demo and the making of this record. The new vocalist and second guitarist is multi-instrumentalist Malus, from the projects Disheaded and Apokatastasis. Now for the actual important part. Veriluola play blackened death metal, and their particular style is very much indebted to the early 90’s, particularly Hellenic black metal and Mortuary Drape. The sound the band crafted for themselves is very melodic but very crushing and relentless. If there can be any comparison, it would be if Archgoat played in the style of the aforementioned Mortuary Drape, without losing any of their trademarked grit.
On a more specific level, the riffs are the main highlight, both Santeri and Malus do an excellent job of playing fast, slow and midpace riffs, complemented by some equally good solo work and a knack for groove to keep each song interesting. Malus’s vocals are also a highlight, they’re appropriately demonic and unrelenting, his deep gurgling growls and screeches add that little extra death metal brutality that’s reminiscent of early black and death metal, but without sounding like some soulless pastiche of much better growls from the past. The bass work, also courtesy of Santeri, is excellent, it’s very deep and contrasts well with the downtuned guitars. And finally the drumming, it’s also good, though the band didn’t credit a drummer in the promos, however, I can at least appreciate that they’re real drums, which is always a plus.
In terms of musical chops and skill the band has all their bases covered, and in practice as a unit they truly shine. And this is odd because at least for the time being, this is still a studio project, so to see them play music that would feel at home on a stage is commendable. Furthermore, while the band do very well playing fast, their true strength is when they slow down. The track ‘Enthralled By The Blaze’ is one of the highlights in that sense, it’s a slow track but it’s also heavy, melancholic and despondent, near the end a sinister organ plays and it feels natural, and more impressively, it doesn’t feel like the band added a doom metalish track just for the hell of it, the song is in line with the rest of the album and works as an excellent midpoint break before returning to pure savagery with the longest track ‘Impish Insurrection’, which is also one of the highlights and display all of the band’s strengths flawlessly. And the album closes in an appropriately sinister note as well with ‘Eternal Knights’, so all in all, a perfectly paced and well executed package that will check all the boxes any fan of extreme metal would want, while also adding something that’s modern and forward thinking while being rooted in the old school.
The final aspect to note is the band’s production, it's actually a very well produced record. The sound is polished but not to the point of sounding plastic, and it’s actually to the band’s advantage because the music presented here wouldn’t sound as striking as it is if it had the usual raw and gritty production of most black metal. So all in all, the band clearly know what they’re doing and know exactly what their music needs, and how they want to sound, and the final product speaks for itself.
Overall, Veriluola succeeded in making a kickass record that’s also out of time, in the sense that their music is unapologetically vintage, yet with a modern shine that also puts it above any other revivalist or copycat out there. Highly recommended to any fan of black, death or just extreme heavy music.
Best tracks: ‘Anguished Soul Collective’, ‘Enthralled By The Blaze’, ‘Impish Insurrection’, ‘Eternal Knights’
Rating: 9 out of 101.16k