Review of Vermiform – “Of Chaos and the Void”

“Of Chaos and the Void”
Masters of Metal Productions, 2012
Rating: 8.5 / 10

One could be forgiven for thinking that Vermiform’s sophomore record, “Of Chaos and the Void”, is the work of a completely different band from the one that released “Everlasting Horror” three years prior. Where the debut album reveled in a distinctly American type of old-school death metal pioneered by bands like Obituary, the follow-up is an entirely different beast despite maintaining the core of the band’s lineup. The second coming of Vermiform is an entirely different take on dark, aggressive music that borrows heartily from black and melodic death metal without compromising atmosphere and intensity.

“Of Chaos and the Void” sounds like a result of some particularly misanthropic residents of Gothenburg, Sweden taking a long sabbatical in a Norwegian forest with nothing but their instruments and recording equipment. It dwells roughly in the same territory as latter-day Dissection, Naglfar, or maybe Dawn, if the latter took greater interest in melodic death metal. While for many bands stylistic changes represent trouble, this is definitely not the case of confused identity, as the album is cohesive and focused. The band has obviously approached the writing process with a very clear idea of what they wanted to accomplish, and managed to produce a grim yet entertaining record for all of our shriveled black hearts.

In this, the idea behind Vermiform’s second album is similar to what they did on “Everlasting Horror”: take a genre they are fans of, and serve up a reverent tribute to it, while embellishing it with occasional catchy choruses (“All That I Despise” or “Children of the Darkest Night”), memorable riffs (“A Black Ash Inheritance”), sinister interludes (intro track “Entering the Void” and “Dreams of the Abyss”), or even an atmospheric, lengthy closer (“The End of All”). The band employs a number of guest soloists, who contribute to varied lead guitar stylings and give each song a distinctive edge. Vocally, Bryan Edwards still employs a sickening, gut-wrenching growl, which conveys the album’s misanthropy very well, and which serves as yet another weapon in Vermiform’s arsenal.

The album mix is a bit unusual, as it brings the drums forward over guitars, and may occasionally detract from the overall impression, as it takes some time to get used to. At times, the mix feels as if it was intended for a rawer, less melodic form of music, but it also serves to prop up the black metal feel on “Of Chaos and the Void”, so it might be a matter of personal taste. Similarly, the programmed drums are an occasional distraction during blast beats, particularly on “All That I Despise”, but it is a minor complaint, since the songs are strong enough to overlook these issues.

Once again, Vermiform delivers the goods with “Of Chaos and the Void”. The record is full of good songs, impeccable playing, and the kind of grim atmosphere that Dissection was famous for creating. Another highly recommended offering from Masters of Metal Productions.

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