Release Date: Aug 21, 2012
Record label: Hydra Head
Genre(s): Black Metal
I never remember my dreams, good or bad. I know it's not like that for everyone, but it's just how I'm wired. That's why it was such a shock to wake up from a van nap, somewhere along the Georgia interstate, and find my inner eye clouded by crystal-clear images of blood, violence, horror, and death instead of the usual bleary shadows. I'd nodded off with Nihill's newest album crackling through my headphones, and as I started awake, was greeted by a chorus of caustic howls still hammering into my eardrums.
Concluding the third part of a trilogy, Verdonkermaan finds Nihill continuing their black metal love in full effect, simultaneously a familiar romp through well-loved tropes and flashes of individual intensity and skill. That distant howls, guitars so trebly and fuzzy as to be washes in the distance, high-speed drums and the like help kick off the opening "Vuur: The Deathwind of Resurrection" shows the par for the course, admittedly. But the focused downward guitar slashes toward the middle of the track as well as the near nods to thrash bring in a little extra focus, and from there the album makes its enjoyable if not wholly unique path.
It’s always a revelation when you discover a metal band that resonates with you deeply, one that hits you right in the gut, or tugs at the old heartstrings. However, it’s even better when you find a band that calls to mind, with searing intensity, agonies you’ve tried your very best to forget. If that all sounds a touch masochistic, keep in mind that the best heavy metal has always summoned tragedy or torment in one form or another.
Verdonkermaan is the third in a trilogy of records from Dutch black metallers Nihill, following Krach in 2007 and Grond in 2007. This is noisy, clamorous, unsettled black metal, buzzing with acrimony and relentlessly clawing upwards as if from the pit. It has been a fine year already for avant-garde black metal, and Nihill continue this trend. From the very outset, there is something about this album that seems askew.