Lustral Purge In Cerulean Bliss by Vertebra Atlantis

Release date: November 12, 2021
Label: I, Voidhanger Records

From I, Voidhanger’s spindly black arms comes another monstrous band pulled screaming from the depths of cavernous horror. Italy’s Vertebra Atlantis crawl free from the stygian darkness to play dissonant death metal with churning, abyssal atmospheres and come armed with a wealth of experience. The three-piece are fronted by G.G. of Cosmic Putrefaction, Summit, The Clearing Path, and Turris Eburnea who provides lead vocals and guitars. Joining him are R.R. of Homselvareg on drums and V. of Spells of Misery on bass.

Debut album and the beautiful titled Lustral Purge In Cerulean Bliss is one of 2021’s biggest surprises and comes out swinging for your face with its start to finish aural assault. ‘Carnal Denouement’ untethers the guitarists to unleash the most death metal of old-school riffing, sending a chaotic whirlwind of shredding and angular tremolos tearing through a rampant, quaking burst of crushing blastbeats. The dizzying nature of the track blended with its quirky touches such as the clicky pig gutterals, Morbid Angel-esque creeping riffs or out of left field proggy interlude make this one of the albums most absorbing tracks. Title track ‘Lustral Purge In Cerulean Bliss’ sneaks in with a lengthy intro of sludgy doom and crawling death metal only to throw a curveball by switching directions and injecting a powerful shot of trve blackness into its veins by soaring through its mid-section with blazing tremolos and ritualistic vocals.

‘Altopiano Celeste’, roughly translated to ‘Heavenly Plateau’, is a vocal-bereft instrumental track, mixing death and black metal with dreamy ambience. Ethereal harp-like strums usher you into a transcending wave of blastbeats and riffing hooks that drag you through epicness until its emotive crescendo. An awesome track that could only get better with lyrics. ‘Saw Thee Quietly Inurned’ is another unhinged monstrosity, with rabid pops of skin-beating aggression and crazed tremolo shredding.

‘The Hermit Strums a Mournful Dirge’ ends the album with an exploration into the creative depths of the band, opening their breadth of ability into other avenues. The beauty of the serene build-up allows for plenty of time to be reflective before transitioning into traditional black metal blasts and ghostly choirs. It’s 6 minutes until there’s any sign of vocals, but the band pull it off with such aplomb you barely miss them and get lost in the music. It’ll be the most polarising track on the album but a great one nonetheless.

Where did this band come from? It’s hard to pin down what Vertebra Atlantis exactly are as their music contains many elements that are shotgun-blasted into your ears and are absorbed into the chaos of your twitching head, but what is fairly obvious is that these guys absolutely rip and possess cranial-crushing power. The music is densely claustrophobic, packed with twisted, frenetic fireballs of chasmic death metal and sounds like it’s regurgitated from the belly of a colossal beast.

One of many things I love about this band is how they stir it up at times and go fully against what you’d expect from a band such as this, it’s never quite straightforward but very multifaceted. There’s a little beauty hidden in the viscous-thick layers of sound that has some traits of blackened metal, there’s also a touch of prog and old-school riding alongside the dominant dissonant death metal and its unsettling avant-garde feel.

Vertebra Atlantis play a technically devastating brand of earth-shaking death metal with the trio cranking it all the way to eleven. Drums are brutal and quaking, riffs fly by in scything fury with fat, juicy hooks and the vocals are meaty and destructive and especially cataclysmic when all three musicians are contributing. There is also a distinct flavour to each track that makes this debut a very technical, layered assault, so utterly vicious and so damn infectious. Lustral Purge In Cerulean Bliss is one hell of an impressive debut.

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