I once saw a review for some terrible computer game in which the writer observed that “On the way home, I briefly considered driving my car off a cliff so I wouldn’t have to play it any more”. I only mention this because I had much the same reaction to Vom Fetisch der Unbeirrtheit’s ‘Vertilger’.
The band play highly chaotic and avant-garde jazz-metal, lent a BM feel by its reliance on angrily buzzing tremolos and deranged high-pitched screams. The tracks are intense and very loosely structured, awkwardly mashing arrangements together to create a patchwork of churning, spasmodic riffs that blare on dementedly and interminably. This disjointed bouncing about is punctuated by unexpected passages of echo-heavy techno and weird pulses of electronica, crowned in one instance by an utterly silly burst of accordion. It has an almost Mr Bungle feel to it on occasion, weaving drunkenly from side to side in an unhinged, circusy fashion, whilst elsewhere there are manic bursts of dense riffs that have elements of Dillinger Escape Plan about them.
It’s an ambitious mash-up of death, black and jazz with some mathcore thrown in, but it singularly fails to achieve more than the sum of its parts, and listening to even one song proves a real test of endurance. It’s rare that an arrangement stands out or comes together in a satisfying way, and instead the songs just seem to go on forever (ten minutes, seventeen, twenty), churning out random riff after random riff whilst the vocalist squawks and wails over the top of everything in German. As someone who is obsessed with classic Bethlehem I’m not one to normally be alienated by ludicrous Teutonic howls, but the vocals here are just plain silly, and annoyingly so. Half screamed, half spoken, they consist of a high-pitched whining that grates instantly and never lets up. One particularly challenging segment sounds like someone strangling a giant chicken to death.
I honestly tried my best to give ‘Vertilger’ a chance, to get beneath its skin, but it yielded not an inch. Attempting to digest the album felt akin to sitting down with a knife and fork to eat a house brick. There are some reasonably interesting electronic-ambient passages here and there, and the band might stumble across an enjoyable jam for a few seconds every now and again, but then it’s back to the coal face for another painful and protracted dose of pointless flailing and wailing. I found myself having to take a breather after every track before continuing whilst writing this review, and I’ve been banned from ever playing it in the house again. I’m sure there will be those out there who will relish its extreme unpalatability and unashamedly avant-garde nature, but I found ”Vertilger’ to be the musical equivalent of dental surgery.
(2/10 Erich Zann)