Ferocious and meditative are not two words I’d associate with each other, but these are the words used to describe this third album by Finnish black metal band Verge. This seven track work is divided into three sections: Aesthetic, Moral and Religious.

“A clown in a transparent delusion of omnipotence, scratch the surface and find an ugly brat gnawing himself in endless shame. A spouse who places trust above everything as long as it feels nice, then she leaves and trusts someone else”. These are the first two reflections of this album. Let there be no mistaking that Verge’s view of life is gloomy and misanthropic. So musically too they drag us through the muddy field of “The Piety of Hatred”. Life is barely worth living if this is the yardstick. On it trudges, representing unabated suffering. The title alone of “The Futility of It All” offers no consolation. This is a dragged out affair of a different kind, featuring a post metal type instrumental line and, strangely, a Kingcrow type chorus. But above all this is a deadly procession. “There are two kinds of people, idiots and those who lie”, rasps the lyricist of “The Ridiculous Difficulty of Acceptance”. It is suggested in the commentary, which goes with each song that wallowing in fruitless misery amounts to intense aesthetic enjoyment. I don’t know about. This music is more the precursor to hanging oneself.

So from Aesthetic we go to Moral and “The Decision Beyond Calculation”. The instrumental output intensifies. Even misanthropy provides no solace. This is represented in the burning hatred and growling suffering which pervade the musically nihilistic piece. In fact despair runs through every piece. Musically it gnaws away at the brain. Here and there a guitar solo will make an appearance but it’s all in the context of the bleak experience and suffering. As we hit Religious, the tone is the same, but midway through “The Bedrock Gives Way” it becomes darker still and a fear-filled atmosphere develops. Drums pound and the organ plays in sinister fashion, before there are violent screams and all-round destruction. The ending is harsh. The “colourless rainbow” symbolises the message of “Grounding in the Unground”. The Kingcrow-like chorus solemnly pumps out the words, while musically we are left hanging. Like “The Futility of It All” earlier, it develops along the lines of a powerful post metal track, with the added bonus of a guitar solo arising from the monotonous ashes before taking a long time to break down like a discordant invitation to a funeral.

This album has something to say, albeit something misanthropic. “The Process of Self-Becoming” is both interesting and effective, if musically dour with occasional sorties into a land where there is colour. But colour and indeed hope are not what Verge are offering.

(7.5/10 Andrew Doherty)