Album Review – Verthebral / Abysmal Decay (2019)

The abysmal decay of mankind and religion through the eyes of a ruthless Paraguayan Death Metal horde.

Formed in 2013 in Ciudad del Este, a city on the Paraná River in Paraguay, South American Death Metal unity Verthebral is a reminder of the potency of Death Metal coming from their continent, blasting our ears with their ruthless creations without a single drop of mercy. From the traditionally-rooted riffing to the relentless percussive hammering with savage and barked out vocals, Verthebral execute with utter savagery and precision each and every track form their newborn opus Abysmal Decay, tempering it with unpredictable tempo changes and whiplashing breakdowns, proving this is not just mindless brutality, but a well thought out extreme album that must not be taken lightly, being highly recommended for fans of hellish acts like Krisun, Rebaelliun, Morbid Angel, Deicide, Slayer, Death, Sarcófago, Malevolent Creation and Hate Eternal, among others.

Featuring a classic and absolutely incendiary artwork by Brazilian artist Marcos Miller (who has already worked with bands like Exterminate and Mental Horror), and layout by Finnish artist Turkka G. Rantanen (Paganizer, Demilich), Abysmal Decay is a natural and exciting follow-up to their 2017 demolishing album Regeneration, once again dealing with several controversial topics like anti-religion, philosophy, human conduct and death, all embraced by a violent and very detailed sonority brought forth by Christian Rojas on vocals and bass, Daniel Larroza and Alberto Flores on the guitars, and Denis Viveros on drums. Put differently, after you start listening to Abysmal Decay, you’ll undoubtedly feel your head, mind and ears tremble, exactly the way we all love in old school Death Metal.

Get ready to be smashed form the very first second in the opening track Ancient Legion, highly inspired by bands like Krisiun and Cannibal Corpse and with Christian delivering his trademark growling attack supported by the demented drums by Denis, sounding solid and pulverizing form start to finish. The quartet keeps hammering our heads in The Art of Perversion, a rhythmic, multi-layered Death Metal extravaganza led by the razor-edged riffs by Daniel and Alberto that will certainly inspire you to crack your skull into the circle pit, not to mention its amazing sinister break halfway through it; followed by the title-track Abysmal Decay, another brutal display of Death Metal slightly slower than its predecessors but heavy-as-hell, with the band’s guitar duo not only slashing our ears with their riffs but also with their crisp solos, resulting in a perfect choice for banging your head like a maniac.

Then it’s time for an absolutely demolishing display of extreme music by this talented band entitled Isolation Room, alternating between frantic moments and sheer brutality and heaviness where Christian continues to roar and bark like a true beast, elevating the overall quality of the album even more. Coronation of Envy already begins in full force, inspiring us all to slam into the pit like berserk metalheads, with Denis being unstoppable on drums and consequently building a thunderous stage for Daniel and Alberto to shine with their strident guitar solos, whereas in Absence of a God we face almost five minutes of crushing Death Metal made in Paraguay. It’s quite impressive how they never get tired of delivering the most rumbling and disruptive sounds possible, with the music living up to the legacy of bands like Deicide, Krisiun and Death.

Christian leads his horde with his deep, enraged gnarls in Sweet Home Illusion, a classy Death Metal onrush featuring demonic and intricate blast beats and metallic bass punches while Daniel and Alberto keep firing scorching sounds from their stringed weapons, before the instrumental bridge Obsidian Tears enhances our senses for the pulverizing My Dark Existence, a mid-tempo, disturbing chant led by the band’s infernal guitarists where Danis sounds like a sledgehammer on drums, feeling dense and obscure from start to finish (albeit not as creative as all previous songs). And closing the album the band adds tons of progressiveness to their evil music in Testimony of Hate, piercing our minds and ears with their visceral riffs and deranged growls, with the sounds from all instruments growing in intensity and rage until the song’s climatic and vile ending.

If you consider yourself a diehard Death Metal fan and true supporter of the underground, don’t forget to get in touch with the guys from Verthebral on Facebook, and to purchase your copy of Abysmal Decay from the band’s own BandCamp page, or from the Transcending Obscurity Records’ webstore in digipak CD format, in a digipak CD and T-shirt combo, or in an outstanding CD box set including an 8-panel digipak CD with metallic effect, an autographed card, an album artwork coaster, an album artwork fridge magnet, a gloss finish badge and a silver logo patch. Having said all that, I’m beyond happy to witness the healthy and vibrant rise of South American Death Metal in the past few years, with bands like Verthebral proudly waving the flag of Paraguayan extreme music everywhere they go through their destructive, heavy and anti-religious creations, or in other words, everything we love (and want) in our good old Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: The Art of Perversion, Isolation Room and Sweet Home Illusion.

Worst moments of the album: My Dark Existence.

Released in 2019 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Ancient Legion 3:38
2. The Art of Perversion 4:44
3. Abysmal Decay 4:26
4. Isolation Room 4:17
5. Coronation of Envy 3:39
6. Absence of a God 4:52
7. Sweet Home Illusion 5:33
8. Obsidian Tears 1:19
9. My Dark Existence 4:32
10. Testimony of Hate 4:25

Band members
Christian Rojas – vocals, bass
Daniel Larroza – guitars
Alberto Flores – guitars
Denis Viveros – drums

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