Abysmal Decay

I was unaware Paraguay had such an excellent death metal act, in the name of this 5-piece named Verthebral.  I will admit to getting a bit burnt out recently to the oversaturation in the death metal scene of bands trying to out brutal one another.  While I understand the competitive nature of that often the brutality is at the expense of writing solid memorable songs in which will create repeated listens for the music consumer.

Verthebral play a form of death metal which, harkens back to the “Golden Age” of death metal, which was from 1989 – 1998.  Today’s scene is awesome and I love so many of the new bands, but when we speak of the real inception of the first and second wave of the monster death metal hits the above date range is the consensus.  With that being said Verthebral are heavily influenced by the Floridian death metal sound of the above particular era and the band that comes to mind and will punch you in the face is Deicide.  With a prior ep in 2015, Adultery of the Soul and their debut in 2017, Regeneration, the band return with their second full-length, Abysmal Decay, which is pummeling from beginning to end.  The band will not win any awards for originality as the Deicide influences are, as I said very heavy; think the first 4 Deicide albums to get a good idea of what you’re getting into.  Had their been dual-layered vocals and such Verthebral would be an exact Deicide clone, but the vocals here are just deep 90’s era dm vocals and are quite good.

Although listed as 2019 release, it literally came out a few days before January 1st and I just received the promo, therefore I am proceeding forward as this is a 2020 release.  10 songs in 41 minutes is the perfect album time amount and “Ancient Legion” begins with a monster mid-paced 90’s era Deicide speed before settling into a monster slow down which will remind you of the first 2 Deicide albums.  Then a blast and the double bass is just speaker collapsing.  The song returns to the slower paced moment before erupting into more blasting madness and a little ditty of a guitar solo to wrap you up in tinfoil and leave you by the curb for trash removal.  The song structure is quite varied and this is a monster opening album with the awesome dm vocals.  A few beats also will remind you of Once Upon the Cross.

The title track has a monster mid-paced heavy rumbling with vicious double bass, and extremely fast and heavy guitar riffing, before the speed picks up.  Nice cymbal hits and then some growls and then right into a super cool stop n start blast beat.  Pummeling heaviness continues and this is sounding like 1992 all over again, for me.  The ethereal guitar solos are an added bonus and the band inject some melodic riffing towards the end of the song, at about the 3.15 mark.  “Coronation of Envy” will have you humming Deicide’s “Sacrificial Suicide” all damn day.  Yes-it’s almost a homage to that classic and destructive song.  The opening riff is a homage to the Hoffman brothers-I swear.  More brutal double bass that begins collapsing and caving in chest cavities and neighborhoods around the world.  More guitar soloing and then blasting towards the end of the song.

Verthebral’s Abysmal Decay is awesome from start to finish.  The production sounds like vintage Morrisound Studios and if you were a fan of any of those stylized productions you will foam out of your eye sockets with this sucker.  The song structures are all interesting and the songs are super memorable.

Since those first 4 Deicide albums are so near and dear to me, it’s why I am connecting with this band and album so much.  The production is loud and in your face and heavy.  The album cover with the purple sky and the lighted opening into the mouth of hell goes perfectly with the album name and music.  Verthebral’s Abysmal Decay is the best death metal album of 2020 and since I do not have their back catalog, you can bet by the time you read this it will be in my collection.  Buy or Die!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
March 31st, 2020


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