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How Can One Explain This Twisted Cacophony?! - 79%

bayern, March 30th, 2017

The 90’s were times for experiments; the old school canons didn’t look so intimidating anymore so a lot of acts rushed to mould them according to their own perceptions and visions. Four lads from Switzerland were also along for the ride, and at least in their case one could easily explain their free, avantgarde spirit: they hailed from the country that spawned visionaries like Coroner, Celtic Frost, Lunacy and Calhoun Conquer. Verwaint by all means followed the left-hand-path approach, but on the album reviewed here they have achieved one of the most dishevelled, bizarre mish-mashes of styles the metal world has ever witnessed. In fact, even 25 years after its inception it’s really hard to cite another album as a close comparison to this charming, eccentric cacophony.

There was an album released a year earlier than the one here, “Third in Order of the Sun”, by a US act named Terrahsphere, that I consider a very good example of chaotic, but still listenable and compelling, thrash/death. Well, these Swiss “psychos” have outdone their American colleagues, by a long shot. How have they managed to achieve that? Here’s how: “The Psychical and Artificial Metamorphosis” is the opening “waltz” which possesses some semblance of normality at the beginning with a fairly standard stomping intro, but a sudden furious proto-deathy passage throws all order and harmony out the window as weird tunes and jazzy breaks follow in quick succession assisted by not very attached punky clean vocals; a more orthodox section mid-way restores the faith, but watch out for the surreal headbanging rhythms later on as well as the frivolous rock-ish exit. It’ll be a conglomerate of genres, this effort here, so the listener should cast all his/her expectations aside in order to enjoy the remainder which continues with “Maggots of Time”, a most jarring unnerving scratcher with a surprisingly stylish lead section at the end, the vocals acquiring a shouty more hysterical pitch. “Coma” begins in an acceptable pounding way, but chaotic proto-blasts invade the aether the vocalist shouting even more hysterically to an apocalyptic effect.

“Denier” is a surreal technicaller with chaotic fast-paced accumulations, which may even find a place on their compatriots Lunacy’s “Believe?”, believe it or not. The most conventional composition here which is superseded by “The Other Wisdom”, a jumpy progressive extravaganza the more hectic rhythms intercepted by the staple speedy chaoses, the alternation stopped in the middle for the coming of a cool linear moment; some stylish surreal thrashing ala Voivod gets served in the second half making this number a possible highlight. “Manipulation of Normal Evolution” is another fairly cool complex track with the abrupt fast-paced inclusions now smelling death metal, but more interesting Voivod-ish ornaments are provided later as well as quieter spacey motifs. “Suspended Animation” is an almost doomy dirger at first, but gains inertia quickly reaching nearly grinding dimensions the vocals unleashing waves of nearly unbearable hysteria; nice melodic leads help alleviate the tension alongside more controlled intriguing thrashing. “Petrified with Horror” is a short hardcore-ish brutalizer with contrasting melodic leads; and ”Perfect Organism” is a manic frenetic rifforama with death metal standing on top of this chaotic melee which also has its laid-back melodic moments. The closing “Non Calculable Hypothermia” would be a revelation, a progressive thrash epic which starts with the tune from the horror cult film “Halloween” before expanding into a brilliant technical cannonade with sinister overtones not without the help of the singer, of course, who changes the pitches at will ensuring the dramatic decoration from the vocal department; expect the traditional fast-paced aggression to get involved later on alongside alluring, twisted melodic variations built around the aforementioned “Halloween” tune as a finale.

Wow, that was something unheard of previously; I got a hold of it around 2009, and tried to imagine what impact a recording of the kind would have had on the scene back then. It’s so multi-layered that it was by no means going to fit the more decipherable works from the technical/progressive thrash metal wave that started in Germany at the same time, and partially in Holland. The lack of coherence and a consistent motif to hold it together would have made it the black sheep of the movement, and would have condemned it to oblivion which was exactly what actually happened. Some may relate it to Calhoun Conquer again, “Lost in Oneself”, in particular, which was structured around surreal and hardcore-ish amalgams with the Voivod flavour marginally more tangible… but this is way more aggressive and cacophonic, and also most unpredictable. On the positive side, it’s strictly based on the classic metal canons; there are no groovy distractions or undesirable elements of the kind although it can definitely be placed in the alternative, avant-garde camp where also the Japanese Doom belong, and other isolated opuses, like the sophomore effort of the Americans Ripped (“Through My Eyes”, 1993), and another notable exercise in outlandish, bizarre progressive metal, the Germans Deterrent’s “Re-Invention” (1994).

There was no way the band would have been able to pull out this insane cacophony for another release. But here they were, two years later with “Ohh! Rang Uhh! Tang”, already creating quite a bit of noise with the title. Except for a few bits and pieces of logic and discipline, this next instalment was even a deeper descent into the chaotic rabbit hole, and would be a very acquired taste even for the bizarrorama maniacs. It was still holding onto the retro thrash idea, but there were more frequent dashes of hardcore/crossover contrasting with the very labyrinthine, undecipherable passages. The guys spaced out even more on “Rollkragen” (1997), but this effort had very few relations to metal let alone thrash. The band split up soon after, but their indigestible feats will by all means be carved in the minds of those who had the patience and the requisite threshold of tolerance to endure them.