Today we have the privilege of sharing a short interview with Chile and Lithuania-based death/doom metal cult VERBUM whom released one of the best extreme metal records of the year thus far with their debut ‘Exhortation to the Impure‘. Within the exchange we touch upon lyrical themes, imagery, and how this all comes together in creation of timeless death worship. We’re also granted some insight into the six year void between releases. Thanks goes out to the band, their record label and representation for the interview opportunity. At any point you can scroll down to the Bandcamp embed below the conversation to experience the full album for yourself, as always do your best to support the elite death metal underground and grab a physical copy from Iron Bonehead‘s Bandcamp, shop or their many distribution partners worldwide.
Does the composition and performance of death/doom metal sate a personal need for asceticism? I ask because the Verbum experience within each release appears to relish in the slowest, most damaging movements but the perspective of your themes reveals its nihilistic intent just as slowly. Was this focus on heavily atmospheric death metal songcraft for the sake of a concept and lyrical theme, or did the music come first? What initially caused Verbum to form?
Indeed, this kind of repressive sounds are part of the essential background and with the years passing by this becomes in a personal need to satisfy, because this dense swamp of darkness is addictive, that’s why this decants in awful forms of dead sounds in composition, that means scrutinize sometimes in severe tasteless chords and nervous slow movements with uncomfortable drum percussion. This idea of music vibrations is connected with the fascination of irreligious orthodox art mostly related to the black metal, but sometimes scarcely explored by bands with doom influences, and even less with perspectives dominated by severe irreligious based in theological and earthly philosophical views. But in the beginning, this was enough to start rehearsing with a simultaneous process between the morbid fascination of metal of death and perdition and the theological orthodox delusions.
The first thing some listeners will wonder is how to account for the ~six years between releases. The recording is quite finely done, so I assume this time was spent honing the best possible record and presenting some evolution of sound. Was the span of time between your first EP and this debut album for the sake of something a bit more perfected, or, delayed due to pandemia?
This LP was recorded in February 2018, after 2 years of our first release, but we had some terrible problems with postproduction, losing 1 year after the studio, even this recording almost got lost but finally nothing of that happened. After that, we complete the mixing and mastering between 2019 and 2020, plus the pandemia. Then Patrick showed interest to release it but not before to wait some months, because the current situation got a lot of factory delays. Finally, this release saw the death in January 2022, so as you can see this process has been tribulated and the songs aren’t quite new, those are the immediately evolution from “Processio Flagellates”.
What inspires Verbum to create this exact form? Are there any major shared influences within classic (or modern day) death/doom metal that’d brought the project together to start? Do these influences persist today? I’ve felt some more deliberate classicist doom metal riffs made their way into some of these songs but also some traits fans of bands like Bloodsoaked Necrovoid can also appreciate. Are there any non-musical influences that have directly shaped ‘Exhortation to the Impure’?
The inspirations are based in the whole kind of style sound, don’t care if they are from the beginning to nowadays, because always is possible to discover new amazing records and worship the old monoliths like the very old My Dying Bride, Decomposed, the primal Anathema, old Asphyx, Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Gorement, Bethlehem, Mayhem, Archgoat, Black Witchery and later bands like Swallowed, Krypts, Grave Miasma, Dead Congregation, Funeral (swe), Hic Iacet, Manifesting, Deathspell Omega and the list is almost endless. And yes, to Verbum the non-musical influences and relevance of it are medullar to shape the lyrics and understand the huge size and power of the message, because, if this topic is not relevant for the listener, this one is wasting their time when only listen this oppressive presence based in theological zealotry and nihilistic postulates from various exponents.
Are your lyrics meant to convey religious zealotry? ‘Processio Flagellates’ conveyed an obsessed point of view with many references to mortification of the flesh, Christian self-flagellation, and the general mania of the penitent. Can we assume the lyrics of ‘Exhortation to the Impure’ deal with similar topics? Is the intention to depict a fanatic’s appeal to impious? Is this tone ironic in the sense that you are presenting/depicting the insanity of extreme Catholicism?
The idea to write about the “religious fanaticism” it’s more of a lighter idea of the deep concept of Verbum but quite symbolical and necessary to start with it to burn a stage in our fascination. Although Processio Flagellates is seen carnality and vulgarity of the body as a form of violence of the believer against himself, like an act to make penance for its own existence in this world, the underlying idea what was developing better with the lyrics on Exhortation to the Impure, are focused on being able to use elements from the same Abrahamic religions, and twist them into a fully human experience; that is, from the flesh, from the expectation of what never comes, from castrated desire, prayer, the incest inherent in the Abrahamic fables, from intercourse and the flesh itself, what is considered denied and impure, denying the life itself. In other words, it is to use their own language, it’s very images, concepts, words and sermons, and totally castrate the idea of deity and transcendence that this discourse carries with it. In lyrical aspects, the base will always be the work with the images associated with the word, rather than the literal or explicit text; in that sense, the image of this humanity in need and aspiration to transcend, and it’s there where the lyrical work that Verbum do is focused to castrating totally those transcendence ideas, and landing suddenly with the emptiness of our being on this earth. And of course, using the same vain rituals that we make fun of and scoff at is part of the exercise of destroying these great rotten and pestilential tales, channeled by the same musical violence.
Who did the cover artwork for ‘Exhortation to the Impure’? I’d guessed Fenomeno Design/Daniel Valencia. Was this piece commissioned specifically for the record and does the artwork include any particular symbolism with relation to the album’s theme? I’ve inferred that the severed left hand and the keyhole have some strong occult significance in terms of awakening and/or actualization.
Yes, Fenomeno Design was in charge to make the job and he did it as we expected with a high-quality design related to the musical mood and message. The cover is very clear to express the core of ideas touted in this work, like the hand of guidance which has the key upon the holy spirit or the gutted and faceless anointed falling from the divine to the earth, this record is in fact a collection of morbid fascination of the sacred, both in the sound of death and perdition and iconography.
Has the band secured any tours, festivals or live shows in 2022?
No, nothing secured or scheduled or any promoted interest for 2022, I think 2023 is a good moment to start some live presentations outside Chile and thinking about it because Verbum has presence now in Lithuania.
What is the best way that fans can support Verbum?
No, no comments about it.
Thank you for your time.
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