Vertebra Atlantis
Lustral Purge in Cerulean Bliss


4.0
excellent

Review

by 0BSCURA USER (2 Reviews)
November 20th, 2021 | 57 replies


Release Date: 11/12/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A trip to the depths of insanity

Oh, man, do I love it when a late-year release comes out ***ing swinging. I’ll just say it; Vertebra Atlantis have managed to make one of the most compelling and, dare I say it, fun-sounding avant-garde metal albums of this year. It’s dissonant, it’s heavy, and it manages to sound unique enough among the hail of avant-garde metal to be released in recent years that I’ve listened to it more than any other album since its release.

This record is a non-stop aural assault, from the doomy tones of opener “Agoraphobic Solipsist” and the lurching, monolithic riffage of the title track all the way to “Saw Thee Quietly Inurned” with its surprise dual guitar solos and palm-muted chugging just to remind you that, yes, it is still death metal. Second track “Carnal Denouement” has a blindingly technical, jumpy opening riff that rapidly gives way to blast beats and surgically-precise tremolo picking. The riffs and rhythms on tap are truly earworm-worthy, and the title track in particular comes to a dark, terrifyingly epic end with a soft, dry outro featuring clean guitars and what I can only assume is a harpsichord. There’s just so many things going on and there’s always something new to pay attention to. Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it guitar flourishes are peppered throughout, as are numerous other small details like barely-audible piano and masked vocal tracks.

Additionally, the musical performances on this album are nothing short of jaw-dropping. Riffs dance across the fretboard at breakneck speeds, vocals -- courtesy of both guitarist AND drummer -- range from swamp-monster gutturals to upper-register sandpaper screams (with the occasional whisper and one madman-style spoken-word segment), and the drum grooves are simply sublime. Mid-album instrumental “Altopiano Celeste” is an excellent showcase.

The lyrics are, essentially, prose shoved alongside the music wherever they can fit. It’s remarkably well-written and the album obviously has a loose concept, but I’m gonna need a hit of acid or two before any of it makes any sense to me. Just read this:

“Through delirium and mystery, fleeting borders lie all around. The earth slips under my feet, wrapping them in mud while the winds ravage and sharpen this boundless plain. I detect the streaming flow of the rivulets like veins’ turbid emissaries.”

Aside from the fact it reads like books you’d find lying around in Skyrim, it’s borderline impossible to know what’s being said without reading the lyrics themselves. The flowery vocabulary is impressive on paper, but when filtered through the grains of slightly lo-fi black metal production and someone’s screaming voice, syllables blend together and it starts to get messy.

On the topic of lo-fi production, the vocal track is clipped and compressed (maybe intentional as a black metal element?) and results in serious ear fatigue. The bass is also just a hair too difficult to pick out from the guitars, but the job it does of filling out the album’s low-end is… adequate. My only nitpick apart from the album’s production is the quaintly-titled outro, “The Hermit Strums a Mournful Dirge”. Compared to the other tracks on offer, this song just doesn’t have much to keep me interested. It has good riffs, and shows that Vertebra Atlantis do have an appreciation for conventional melody, but it drags on for too long and the fact that it’s very nearly instrumental aside from one verse at the end that feels incredibly forced-in doesn’t help much.

As a whole, though, Lustral Purge in Cerulean Bliss stands out amongst this year’s metal releases. It’s well-composed from front to back and, for the most part, avoids the indulgences that many avant-garde metal bands fall temptation to. Frankly, it’s worth a listen for anyone that’s looking for some new blackened death or is just wanting something to scratch the itch between now and the next Artificial Brain/Gorguts/Imperial Triumphant/Deathspell record.

Essential tracks:

Carnal Denouement
Lustral Purge in Cerulean Bliss
Spiritual Onset
Saw Thee Quietly Inurned


user ratings (53)
3.9
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
0BSCURA
November 20th 2021


16 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

eyyyyy second review.



if it comes off as stream-of-consciousness, that's because it was. :D



anyway rep this album bigtime

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
November 20th 2021


3236 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Glad to see this get a review (and a decent one at that). Gave this a 3.5 for now, but could grow, nice album.

brainmelter
November 20th 2021


7724 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yea this is being pretty slept on

Digging: Vothana - Hnh ??ng By Gi?, T??ng Lai ??m B?o / Action Now,

0BSCURA
November 20th 2021


16 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

definitely my favorite debut metal album from this year. previously that was untethered abyss by cathexis (another band keeping me sated until artificial brain drops something new) but this is just slightly more interesting to me.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
November 20th 2021


16179 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

This album and it’s label counterpart (released the same day) was on my to-review list. Naturally life happened and I’m very glad this got a review here.



Mostly I enjoy how molten and fluid this is without falling into those avant cliches that hamper these sorts of albums.

twlight
November 20th 2021


5819 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sweet to see a review for this, album rules

Digging: Seer Believer - Bent

Storm In A Teacup
November 21st 2021


36821 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent Skyrim reference. Listening to the first song and it has a decent sound and seems a bit meaty in a good way. Would always prefer this instrumentation with more Cradle of Filth style vocals but maybe this can grow.

Storm In A Teacup
November 21st 2021


36821 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh my god this second song is amazing!

0BSCURA
November 21st 2021


16 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

second track and title track are my favorites on the album, prolly. t/t just goes hard riff after riff after riff and then it stops and it's fucking beautiful

Atari
Staff Reviewer
November 21st 2021


27090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This looks awesome.. cheers for the review!

Digging: Mos Def - Black on Both Sides

BallsToTheWall
November 23rd 2021


50697 Comments


Saw this on Facebook, need to jam. Solid work.

Digging: Kim Petras - Clarity

JokineAugustus
November 29th 2021


10512 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Checking now

Digging: Growth (AUS) - The Smothering Arms Of Mercy

DavidYowi
December 8th 2021


2095 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is sick. Glad I listened to this before my year end list

Digging: Mefitis - Offscourings

Evok
Contributing Reviewer
December 9th 2021


8806 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Usually shit like this gets me rock hard but idk, this one just isnt

Digging: Ferrara Ensemble and Crawford Young - Figures Of Harmony: Songs Of Codex Chantilly c1390

JokineAugustus
December 13th 2021


10512 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Totally disagree. Top 5 of the year for me most likely

EphemeralEternity
December 13th 2021


3943 Comments


This is a cut above the usual angular dissonant dsbm bdsm bs



CaptainDooRight
December 16th 2021


5145 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Same thot as Evok

Digging: Thanatos - Emerging from the Netherworlds

DDDeftoneDDD
December 16th 2021


19637 Comments


Stoooop
No more death metul

Digging: Dope Lemon - Rose Pink Cadillac

DavidYowi
December 16th 2021


2095 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

There can never be enough death meteal

JokineAugustus
December 17th 2021


10512 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Almost as good as Ad Nauseam



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