Monday, December 15, 2014

Verge / Blood Red Fog - Because It's Wrong

Verge emanate a discomforting aura through a deliberately off-kilter cadence, a dissonant ring and clash of shrill and off-tuned instruments that sounds as if a rock and roll band led by the disheveled organist on the cover was possessed by the devil. A dark, eerie organ sets the tone of a decrepit hall with a muddied harshness through which uneasy tones echo. Everything has a feeling of being played through old stereo equipment that doesn't sound quite right, tones clashing while the band maintains a menacingly loose swagger that fits the atmosphere perfectly. While undeniably wrought through the portal of black metal, the wandering nature of the guitars and bass mix with the eerie organ in a way that feels like old hard rock channeling unearthly discordance. Is this Iron Butterfly possessed by the devil? Perhaps. There's an unearthly tormentor burning these souls, their suffering manifested through sorrowful crooning and the discordant clash of instruments. The humanity of it shines as each piece tries to escape. The guitar trails off and wanders in contrasting, consonant leads which have a humble folk touch, a soulful blues-tinge coloring them. The organist constructs a long dirge which stands on its own, a dingy cathedral-filling ode to ruin. That track leads into a Tenhi cover, where the vocalist begins to sing clean, the human counterpart to his normally-possessed mournful croon. This is unorthodox, incongruent music. Because it's wrong.

Blood Red Fog enter Verge's state of mind for the second half of this album, deviating from their prior works to make this album whole. Verge's tracks were recorded in 2008, while BRF recorded these in 2009, and the way they continue Verge's themes and explore their state of mind in the embodiment of Blood Red Fog is an excellent complement. Likewise, Verge's style shifts towards one more complementary to BRF towards the end of the first half, including a tense tremolo buildup during "Traction."

This half returns to a more normal cadence, as this band shapes their music primarily with melodies. They transition with a slow, nightmarish passage which echoes the tortured theme. Parts of this are strong, distinctly Finnish melodies in a more traditional black metal form, but these deviations focus on shaping a different side of the band's sound in an unusual, twisted voicing. The emphasis on tormented, mid-paced sections is an interesting contrast, as the band explores morbidity rather than death itself. Their normally focused, occultist death worship is strung out and a feeling of unease festers in its presence. The guitars provide the brunt of the discomfort, while the vocals are mixed pretty low and the bass is less active than it is in their other works. The journey here starts with the most characteristically dissonant, Verge-sounding track in "Spiritual Promiscuity" and ends with BRF's "Bleak Water" which is only lightly tinted with Verge's weirdness, being the most similar to BRF's other works. Still, this album seems to be the conceptual creation of Verge.

Isn't that right?

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