12th June 2023 0 By Malli "Metalhead" Malpass
South Wales has been dry for a little over a month, the last time we had any precipitation was May 8th. Today that dry spell broke with the welcome chill of rain on my bare tattooed shoulders. Today also sees Black Metal boyos, Verletzen untether their growling, baying new album The Blackened Crusade from the cold stone pillars of Hell and unleash it on the world. Is it a coincidence that today was the day that South Wales weather took on a greyer, wetter tone? Only Satan knows for certain but I have a feeling it’s connected.
South Wales isn’t the first place that springs to mind when you’re looking for authentic sounding true kvlt music but the mountains, lakes, and forests of Cymru must hold some of the same evil power that possessed and inspired Black Metal’s originators all the way over in Norge, because Verletzen are on fire! From the onset of track one The Ballad of the Beheaded, you’re engaged and violently swept away from your familiar audible surroundings, to a cold dimly lit, and frankly terrifying place of sin and evil. Legend says (well, it will one day) that even if your surname is Church, you should avoid listening to this track because you are at a very real risk of being bodily-razed from existence. 
I’m no expert on Black Metal, it’s never been my thing but I’m fairly sure this is how it should be done. It’s visceral, dramatic, and scathing. Verletzen are a three-piece but sounds so huge and filled out. The nasty, screeching vocals that front demon and Fret Wraith Nazgul deliver are sharp and sickening. He could probably melt glacier ice with his ferocity and tone.  
Amidst the haunted screams, the driving frenetic drums of Demete, and the fearsome bass of Azog, there’s real groove and dare I say, fun! The musicianship is solid and tight but with a rawness that really transports the listener to faraway places and times of magic and intrigue. The Blackened Crusade is an album for real Black Metal fans but it’s accessible enough to draw the less evil indoctrinated, like myself in. The album clocks in at just over half an hour, which I feel is the perfect length. It kicks in, it drives you to audible depravity then kicks you out to fend for yourself in the dark forests of your now-blackened imagination. In short, this album is a Kvlt treat, which I wholeheartedly (albeit with a dark, twisted heart) encourage you to checkout and purchase. 
Verletzen are currently smashing through the heats of this year’s Bloodstock Metal to the Masses competition, in Swansea. The semi-finals are on Saturday 17th June at The Bunkhouse. I for one, having seen them live in the quarter-finals think they are well deserving of a spot on that New Blood Stage. 
1. Ballad Of The Beheaded  
2. In Cold Crypts 
3. Dwelling Of The Black Mist 
4. Tir Du 
5. Invocation II 
6. The Blackened Crusade 
7. Grimmog 
8. Invocation III 
9. The Neverending Reign 
10. Witching Hour 
Release Date 10/06/2023
Record Label:  Marwolaeth Records

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