Citing the likes of Nile, Cannibal Corpse and Behemoth amongst their inspirations, this stuck out like a sore thumb amongst my review pile for getting fast tracking to my ol’ lug holes with priority. Veilburner’s debut album is packed with chaotic, technical death/black and brimming with crushing riffage that could flatten cities, yet it’s so much more – so I ask, what’s not to love?
The album opens and I’m immediately met with the warm, hazy production, smooth synths and slow wandering guitars, before the death metal pummelling begins with gusto. Technical tremolo picked riffs roll out of the speakers like tanks firing on all cylinders, and the Nile influence soon becomes clear. Riffs bombard, rising and falling, building an array of crushing landscapes with a fiery contempt for silence. ‘Masturbating the Obelisk’ opens with a very eastern flavour, reminding me of the brilliant Melechesh, before the Nile-styled bombardment flies forth once more – powerful, but with a dissonant synth which adds texture rather than just decimating the senses with speedy riffs. There’s more than meets the eye here though, as you’d perhaps expect from a band who could possibly have taken their name from an Enslaved song. Throughout the album you’ll find influences from industrial, some avant-garde set pieces and occasional nods towards dark ambience alongside their clear love of world music, so there’s quite an array of musical spices all poured into the melting pot for consumption here.
As an album, it’ll certainly sound familiar in places – yet it still has an individual edge which comes through the esoteric lyrical themes and impressive atmospheres they create within their musical arrangements. Not afraid of testing the waters into styles and territories untouched by most in the genre, Veilburner generally come up trumps through the tangible love and effort that has clearly gone into this release. Even with the styles brought to the table musically, ‘The Three Lightbearers’ is a fairly instant release, which resounds with powerful displays of light and dark from a broad palette. With that said, I have a feeling that once they purify and hone their style, their best work is yet to come.
(7/10 Lars Christiansen)