Review Summary: Exiting the periphery of human psyche.
There is no definitive impression of what defines terror. Sure, it can be said that it's an overwhelming state of sheer panic, but what triggers such reactions isn't quite as black and white. Perhaps terror is the increasing awareness of your own imperfections and dissecting each and every flaw until all you see is a mistake. Perhaps its something more traditional, like retching after watching a movie with putrid festering gore and being so utterly petrified of what cannot be unseen. Or perhaps it's being caught in a swirling benighted maelstrom, entering a world where the only sound is the tortured howling of desecrated human beings that remind you you are exiting the comforting periphery of your psyche. Losing your grasp on reality is terrifying, and undoubtedly the most bewildering form of terror.
That's what "Trance of Death" sounds like. Between schizophrenic, muddy riffs and unsettling barks and rasps, Venenum create the aural equivalent of being in a mortified stasis. The atmosphere is shrouded in the weird and abhorrent. This is immediately present off the intro track "Entrance" and even more so off of "Merging Nebular Drapes". There's moments where, through pummeling drum beats and howling tremolo guitar, the album is decidedly unabashed in its sheer death/black metal force. However, there are also moments where the vocals and drums drop from the picture, leaving hollow rings of sound in their decimation. The best example of the first statement being these chaotic weaves of snares and tremolos off of "The Nature of the Ground", while the second statement would best be represented by the unhallowed, dread-inducing epic (14 minutes) "There Are Other Worlds".
"Trance of Death" is equal parts messy guitar distortion, cathartic blasting drum fills, and moments of silence pregnant with wretched terror. Comparing it to any other band feels blasphemous, however they do bring to mind the likes of Ulcerate, Howls of Ebb, Deathspell Omega, what have you. Like the aforementioned bands, Venenum embodies dissonance and disorder, transcending the tag of Blackened Death metal. In fact, this record transcends music in the traditional sense. "Trance of Death" is just that, captivating you with its hypnotic power.