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VERDOEMD – Howling Mountain (Self-Released – 11 January 2021)

8 tracks – Duration: 37 min.

DAMNED. That is how the Dutch word VERDOEMD translates into English. VERDOEMD is a solo blackened Death/Thrash Metal project which hails from the Flemish fields of Haaltert in Hellgium, which became fertile soil for retro Thrash Metal class acts like EVIL INVADERS, BÜTCHER, and SCHIZOPHRENIA in the meantime. The artistic mind behind VERDOEMD gained proficiency in acts such as KOSMOKRATOR, SERPENT MASS, and EVIL SHEPHERD, which perhaps sounds more familiar to you. Last year, VERDOEMD already spawned forth ‘The Black Heresy Will Prevail’. That makes two releases in 2 years. Once again, the Covid-19 pandemic era at least seems to be fruitful in terms of creativity. 

Glenn describes his brainchild as Death/Thrash Metal and unveils to be inspired by the likes of SODOM, DESTRÖYER 666, DESASTER, NIFELHEIM, NOCTURNAL GRAVES, and AURA NOIR. With that knowledge, it will be no surprise that VERDOEMD serves some raw & dirty old-school Black/Thrash Metal, with the emphasis on the latter. I cannot think of Black/Thrash without evoking ensembles like ABSU, SUMMON, and USURPER, but VERDOEMD sounds more European (duh!), and then again, still considerably different from the rest of the continent (e.g. NOCTURNAL BREED). Forget all about easy-listening, Howling Mountain is wayward, and far from fashionable. While being more destructive and without boasting technique or having any jazzy edges, there is an experimental and unconventional side about VERDOEMD which creates a similar twisted atmosphere that bands like CORONER, SADIST, SADUS, and ATHEIST achieve.  

Either you will love or hate the rabid, piercing, and rather inaccessible Thrash vocals. They might not be as powerful, but do have that sick, nasty and non-conform attitude as those of Maurice Swinkels (LEGION OF THE DAMNED, formerly known as OCCULT), King Fowley (DECEASED), Corporate Death (MACABRE), Lord Sabathan (ex-ENTHRONED), Mille Petrozza (KREATOR during ‘Extreme Aggression’ era), John Connelly (NUCLEAR ASSAULT), Bobby Blitz (OVERKILL), Sataniac (DESASTER), Joe (EVIL INVADERS), Stephan Gebédi (THANATOS), or Paul Speckmann (MASTER) to name just, well, quite a few. The screams are mean, aggressive, yet understandable.     

The guitar section, however, is what VERDOEMD excels at with frantic leads and whirling, jumping & rolling riffs in the vein of NIFELHEIM, and DESASTER. The sporadic dissonant guitar patterns play a prominent role in this inconvenient and awkward sensation. Add just a handful of discordant chords like EMPEROR would dare to apply them in their typical trademark style (‘Ye Entrancemperium’). 

As with many one-man bands, no real drums were hurt during the making of this record. Instead, they were skillfully programmed, without abusing any of the inhuman speed capabilities. 

The fact that ‘Maes’ even catered for the recording and the mix himself bears witness to motivation and the will to be in control.

Vocals, guitars, bass, drum computer, recording, mixing… there was one aspect that VERDOEMD did outsource: the artwork. MORDIGGIAN-ART fittingly visualized the album title and its soundscape on an appealing piece of digital cover art.

Despite my futile attempts, VERDOEMD is damned (pun intended) hard to compare, which testifies of a certain authenticity. Hope you agree that someone who manages to pull off recording two albums on his own in merely two years deserves nothing but our full respect. If you have a soft spot for Black/Thrash Metal, underground, one-man Metal musicianship, and/or a healthy dose of DIY-mentality, the least you can do is to go and have a listen to VERDOEMD, dammit!

7.8 out of 10 skulls