This is the debut album from solo Irish black metal band Verzauber.
Containing a colossal 80 minutes of material, Frankincense & Vitriol is an extended undertaking, with epic-length songs that are full of immersive content. Verzauber’s primary style is that of raw atmospheric black metal, and within and alongside this a few different influences can be felt, resulting in a well-textured and detailed work.
Frankincense & Vitriol is a raw and underground interpretation of atmospheric black metal, with some synth elements. The music is vast and expansive, focusing on mood as the principal driver of the songs, at least in the main. Occasionally there’s an impenetrable wall of blasting aggression, but for the most part the songs emphasise the atmospheric aspect of the music. Of course, these are not mutually exclusive concepts, and there’s an aggressive streak in much of the material here, no matter what it’s doing at any given time.
These lengthy tracks paint grim blackened portraits with esoteric paints. The resulting pictures are imbued with a personality and presence that’s insidious and beguiling, and before you know it you’re trapped in Verzauber’s world, locked in a landscape that exists somewhere between the harsh and the beautiful. Despite the album’s duration there are plenty of diverting ideas and creative expressions that hold the listener’s interest across these tracks. The artist behind Verzauber seems to know what he’s doing, and the songs are well-crafted.
The rawness of the music will put some off this undoubtedly, but for fans of the style that are acclimatised to this sort of underground art, there’s a lot to explore and savour here.