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Vertebra Atlantis - Lustral Purge in Cerulean Bliss Award winner

Vertebra Atlantis
Lustral Purge in Cerulean Bliss
by Justin "Witty Wity" Wittenmeier at 20 December 2021, 6:07 AM

VERTEBRA ATLANTIS is a black/death metal band from Italy. They formed in 2019 and "Lustral Purge in Cerulean Bliss," is their full length debut. The mastermind behind it is G.G. from COSMIC PUTRIFCATION and TURRIS EBURNEA. This album is just so different from anything I've heard this year. The rough production combined with the album's very dissonant and discordant style makes this music very much a physical presence—when listening to this, I felt like the music was pushing into me. For a frightening experience, I suggest headphones for this as well. I get big IMMOLATON vibes from this, too. The two bands don't sound alike per say but VERTEBRA ATLANTIS has that same ability to create a hellish and cavernous atmosphere.  It could be argued that very sound makes the songs seem muddled at times, and it does bury the bass, but there is also something to be said for music that just full envelopes all the space around it.

Much like G.G.'s other projects,  "Lustral Purge in Cerulean Bliss" has alien/other worldy vibes resonate though out the album's seven track, 42 runtime. But it isn't an alien world that is to be explored without a healthy dose of danger, eeriness, and trepidation. However, it is a journey that needs to be taken many times, despite the darkness that lurks within. This is insane, dense music and it takes many listens to fully absorb what has been heard. The first track, " Agoraphobic Solipsist,” immediately throws down monolithic riffs—very doom yet decidedly brutal like death metal and against the grain like black metal.  The vocals are low gurgling growls and higher pitched blackened screams—they sound appropriately disturbing and fit the atmosphere created by the music so well.  The rhythmic flow barrels into the next movement like a train, each part of the song being pushed by this hellish tide.  Within this wall of sound likes many details that, as I said earlier, might not present themselves the first time through.   Examples of this include the very subtle use of synths and clean chants after the four minute mark and the drums which change the tempo quickly during this movement.

The title track, “Lustral Purge In Cerulean Bliss,” throws in little flourish of groove here and there, which helps connect the dissonant riffs from one movement to the next.  The song rumbles on for two and half a minutes, picking up speed but doing so in a methodical way.  After the two minute mark, the vocals get more vicious as the drums barrage at these high speed tempos.  Around the 4:40 mark or so, the song slows back down with riffs rising and follow into the abyss. This abyss fades out into clean notes that refresh the mind while it wonders just what it heard exactly. “Altopiano Celeste,” is an instrumental, one in which the bass shines through—while making me wish it was this audible in the other songs.  The beginning is clean guitar and bass that builds up  to an intricate degree.  All the while, the drums are picking up embers that will soon build into flame. This build up  is rich with layers and I’m impressed how well the band handles time management: they are fast, furious and with a lot to say but they know just how to compose the songs well enough to allow them the time to not be rushed. By the halfway mark, the song is in full swing with discordant riffs raging through the darkness.   All this is rather harrowing and the clean chants (or maybe they are keys?  It is hard to tell) only enhance the experience.

The final track, “The Hermit Strums A Mournful Dirge,” is an absolutely massive song and by far my favorite on the album, which says a lot.  It has a very long intro and is more somber than the other songs—so I think my love of doom really helps this song speak to me. It is just beautiful in how it grows into its eight minutes.   The notes are put down perfectly, each one a step towards something even greater.  In some ways, this song represents growth and the odd beauty of that sometimes painful process.  But with growth comes pain and, eventually, death.  The heavier parts of the song, that really echo what came before but present themselves differently, takes all the bullshit of the human experience and slams it through the senses.  By the time the vocals arrive around the six minute mark, I was already beaten down but the searing screams and brutal growls just pushed my listening limits further and further.  Incredible song, incredible experience, and incredible end to an incredible album.

VERTEBRA ATLANTIS’ “Lustral Purge In Cerulean Bliss,” is everything you could want in an extreme metal album plus everything you didn’t know you wanted.  A breathtaking experience that will not soon be forgotten. I heard this too late in the year to add to my soon to be published best of 2021 list but make me no mistake: this is one of the year’s best and a trip worth facing the darkness for.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Agoraphobic Solipsist
2. Carnal Denouement
3. Lustral Purge in Cerulean Bliss
4. Altopiano Celeste
5. Spiritual Onset
6. Saw Thee Quietly Inurned
7. The Hermit Strums a Mournful Dirge
Lineup:
V – Bass, Vocals
G.G. - Guitars, Vocals, Synths, Bass
R.R. - Drums, Vocals
Record Label: I,Voidhanger Records
     


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