Mental Torment - _On the Verge..._
(Solitude Productions, 2013)
by: Chaim Drishner (8.5 out of 10)
Russian label Solitude Productions is a never ending source for quality music, and so, among the dozens of lukewarm, mixed-bag releases this highly productive label (and various sub-labels related to it) is offering, they who seek and explore, could find some timeless masterpieces that dodge every genre cliché and push the boundaries of doom/death metal (especially) further from their known, familiar and uninspired perimeters.

Such is the case with Mental Torment, a Ukrainian unheralded band, to whom _On the Verge..._ would be a maiden recoding as a full-length album, and what an album it has become!...

Capturing a mammoth of a sound, almost painfully heavy, _On the Verge..._ is a lightless album, comprised of cheerless, dark, devouring tunes of sheer dread and melancholy; of ultimate pessimism and supreme pain; ear-splitting musical substance and nightmarish soundscapes with not even a single glimpse of any form of light or brightness at the end of the tunnel; the jagged, crumbling, fetid tunnel of doom and gloom and some more doom, courtesy of Mental Torment.

Devoid of gimmickry, Mental Torment's music is free from any additional ingredients (other than the ghostly keyboards that are hardly discernible, being more often than not drowned by tsunamis of vocal and electric guitar monstrosities presiding), garnering an authentic atmosphere of fear and bleak hopelessness you couldn't help but acknowledge with awe and reverence.

Masters of disaster, these Ukrainian phenomenal musicians have cultivated and harvested a spooky album of gloomy melodies and leviathan-like sonic enormities rarely heard in the doom/death circles. Each second the album plays is harmful and vile, suggesting grisly fate and the crumbling down of humanity itself.

Don't let the occasional merciful moments (the guitar leads, the momentary relief from the sonic assaults on the senses, the beautiful passages...) fool you into thinking this is another of those 'melodic' doom/death albums out there. Melodic it is, through and through, but the deeper the melodious factor, the greater is the malevolence lurking behind every riff; exhausting, hurtful, with an evil intent, this album is indeed nothing but 52 minutes of mental torture -- so dark, so menacing -- crushing you under its weight and in turn makes every hope and misconception (or prejudice toward this sub genre) crumble in the face of this beauty in black.

Those who appreciate doom/death metal and want to explore it further, beware!, for this album is like entering an almost uncharted territory of the style. Every faculty and aesthetic of the genre here is magnified, amplified and spewed forward in a dramatic manner attributed to the criminally insane; those who wish to explore the ultimate in extremity (be it the extremity of despair, the extremity of heaviness, or both) should take heed and listen to this curiosity with caution, for this is a wrist-slashing material encapsulated in a harmless looking album waiting to unlock its horrors as soon as the 'play' button is pressed.


(article published 23/8/2013)

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