I was going to meander out a write up for a cheery blues rock duo, but today is just not that kind of day.
The Battle of Verdun was one of the largest battles fought in World War 1 and also in the history of warfare. A battle that raged for the better part of a year and resulted in somewhere around 800,000 confirmed casualties. It’s one of many examples that show humanity is really quite good at killing itself. Named after such a gruesome battle, one could only expect a band to give sonic life to the destruction, darkness and agony of that time in history. Verdun does and then some.
This Montpellier, France based quintet deliver a crushing landslide of pulverizing basslines, droned out riffs and howling screams all wrapped in the itchy wool blanket of despair. A combination of equal parts violence, doom, sludge and hardcore, their 3 track EP, “The Cosmic Escape of Admiral Masuka” is unrelenting in it’s pursuit of your eventual oblivion.
Even with three tracks the EP still clocks in at close to 30 minutes, so each song is well within or skirting the edge of epic territory. The songs drag you further and further into a state of perpetual headbang, with foul grooves as the propellant. While the song structure and tone show the doom/sludge influences, the riffs incorporate elements of hardcore, just stretched out and tortured, instead of hammered directly into your skull.
The last track, “Jaxa” is the standout in my mind. Everything that they had building to in the previous songs finally culminates in an epic amalgamation of genres. The droned out pace is punctured by jolts of space-like ambiance, foul moans and distorted screams. A bluesy guitar solo struggles for breathing room as the sludge ever so slowly covers it in oozing black evil.
Yeah, it’s that good.
This isn’t happy music. It’s angry, vile and a harbinger of doom. There is a certain majesty to the whole affair, in a monolithic sort of way. “The Cosmic Escape Of Admiral Masuka” is up for 2 euro ($2.60), which is a steal for such an excellent doom/hardcore hybrid. Go forth and conquer.