Starting off as a duo German band Verheerer (Devastator) released debut album Maltrér back in 2018. Obviously it went down well although seemingly was missed entirely by us and the impetus from it has encouraged the band to recruit three new members and quickly follow it up with new album Monolith. Being absolutely flooded with new releases at the moment this one almost fell by the wayside but a quick listen to the title track via Bandcamp proved that this was an album that simply couldn’t be ignored. The dark energy it contained compelled me to download the complete album and I have been listening to it ever since. This is a mix of black and death metal with some really powerful atmosphere about it and even if the band were previously unheard of as far as we are concerned they are very much on the map now.

I have no problems with an intro piece if it sets up what is to come and that is what we get here, just over a couple of minutes of a throbbing pulse and build-up of thick bass line and melody anticipating the forthcoming storm. The title track really is a beast and the raging guitars that we first encounter in the intro storm darkly away with poise, precision and deadliness. We also get introduced to the vocals from BST after he cackles and roars that is. They are certainly interesting and not really a case of singing but bellowing out his parts in austere dictatorial tone. When he yells out the album title at full body around the raging yet melodic guitar interplay I can’t help thinking of Amebix and there is a certain crustiness about everything. Of-course the title could be a case of word association stemming back to the 80’s but there are distinct comparisons to the British Anarcho punks. Put simply this track is one hell of a banger and rages away with the guitar strumming particularly of note. Luckily the band keep the impetus going throughout the album and this is no flash in the pan. There is a feeling of blackened orthodoxy amidst the seething cauldron and occultist trappings are never far away delivered by a singer sounding like he is summoning old gods to an unholy communion. Powerful and fist slamming numbers like ‘He Who Sowed the Poisoned Seeds’ virulently uncoil and bite with serpentine venom. A spoken word sample ominously in then background adds a bit of depth and mystery and the vocalist’s fetid death belch does no ill favours. The musicians keep things constantly evolving with some neat bass grooves and a flamboyant guitar solo too. There’s stacks going on here and it all definitely keeps the listener on their toes.

Angry and urgent and feeding off darkness every step of the way the glorious mass of ‘The Fatalist’ is full of seething melody and the fact the ever-austere vocals are delivered in English make it very easy to follow and get the complete picture. Some doom and gloom is injected into proceedings but the next rampant surge is never far away. This is certainly up there in the hallowed halls of bands such as Aosoth and the conviction behind it is what makes it so formidable. Shortest track ‘The Eskapist’ goes off like a bomb and obliterates all in its path the clamour of BST driving everything into a heaving and trembling fury with everyone working in perfect co-ordination. Slowing the cauldron to a simmer with some acoustic Gothic sounding guitar lines ‘He Shall Reap A Thousandfold’ has similar atmospheres to mid-era ‘Secrets Of The Moon’ and has me checking for live action from the band and seeing that its Germany where it has all been at for them of late; hopefully this is something that will spread throughout Europe like the veritable plague for them.

So much is packed into this 50-minutes of music and all of it is good, from the glistening signature melody and tumult of fist-slammer of ‘Serpent Grave’ possibly my favourite number along with the title track to the mysticism and occult and macabre lunacy of the speech that ends the album on the 10 minute ‘Theios Aner & Irrisio’ this is all pretty much faultless. I think its obvious that I like this rather a lot and it comes at a time that everyone is no doubt beginning to think about their albums of the year. There’s a very good chance ‘Monolith’ might be in mine and I’m damn glad this wasn’t an album lost in the crowd…

(8.5/10 Pete Woods)