Playlist by Verst
To coincide with the release of HARROWING SLUMBER's debut album, Sleepwalking the Path of Ea, Verst has compiled thirteen songs to illuminate some of the inspiration behind this new work, and more generally bands that have served as influence on the path to his own music, which began twelve years ago with INSTINCT.
Method of Murder
Early 90's obscurity. I was listening to a lot of death metal back then; Baphomet, Decomposed, Entombed, Deicide, Bolt Thrower, Anathema, MDB etc but this band had a bizarre atmosphere on their only album that I wouldn't hear again until I picked up 'Reflections of the Solstice' and 'A Blaze in the Northern Sky' a while later. I still spin this CD from time to time. Not the most competent or engaging musically but... as stated above.
This vinyl sparked a fire in me and in my opinion should really be experienced in this format. I got the CD years later; it didn't sound right. Nothing else to add other than 'A Blaze in the Northern Sky' literally changed my life and sent me down this path...
Since 1989 I have been obsessed with listening to and experiencing the emotional, psychological and physical effects of music and so never limited myself to 'metal' or '(old school) Hardcore' which I guess have always been my main genres of interest, so back in 1991 when I first heard New Model Army; the Impurity album I believe had just been released, I was utterly hooked. Probably my favourite 'rock' band of all time though I think they lost their way after 1994. This track, from 'Vengeance' is one classic of many. The rhythm section alone was surely unrivalled back then. Such an incredible production too.
What an album, what an atmosphere. I generally dislike the use of keyboards within black metal but the textures and melodies created with keys on this album are obviously integral to the overall sound. The aesthetics, the ideology, all represent everything that black metal should be - repulsive to the passive shits who follow social, moral, spiritual and political convention. I'm talking about metallers and non-metallers alike here.
Classic hardcore, not the modern version with neck tattoos, quiffs, plaid shirts, rehashed 'nu metal' riffs and vomit inducing 'hip hop' influences. I saw this band many years ago in some shitty little club, I got smacked square in the eye and it blew up like a fucking black apple. A very good night of intense music and violence.
In the Woods...
Heart of the Ages (1995)
A monumental album, especially from that period. A full embracing of what I'd describe as 'telluric spiritualism' conceptually and lyrically with a sound that truly reflects the beauty, chaos and enchantment of nature throughout Northern Europe, with some of the fiercest human screams ever recorded; feral and 'diving into the wilderness'. Another life changing album for me and without doubt a direct influence on the music I have created since 2005.
Hellenic underground legends. Sonic perfection, singular aesthetic vision, skilful song writing. This track is from the split with the equally legendary Nåstrond. That is all.
The Musical Dimension of Sleastak (1993)
An album that obviously divided followers of the band. Personally, I think 'Musical Dimensions...' is the best material they ever created. THIS, musically speaking, has had some direct influence on my writing for Harrowing Slumber. James Plotkin is a behind-the-scenes master of sound manipulation and I was impressed to see/hear he had mastered EMIT's 'Spektre Music...' album too. An artist from my area of the country whom I have great respect for.
So I can tell you that back when I randomly discovered the vinyl of 'Reflections...' in a London record store I had absolutely no idea what I was in for. Again, a rare album in terms of atmosphere and execution and back then these things were almost magical in their mystery - only printed zines through the post, and I never received any zine with a Goatlord interview. It was clear to me that they were not a band you'd find in RAW or Kerrang out of the local newsagent. It was only when the internet became something anyone could access from home that I discovered the most basic information about them, and of course that they had demos released prior to the album. My friends at the time hated it. 'guy can't play drums' 'guitar is out of tune' Fuck them. A very special, dark place in the corner of my rotten heart for Goatlord.
The first metal band I got into at age 12. Of course I had no idea they were called 'crossover' or 'thrash' back then, to me it was just angry and fast with swearing. I still play their early albums often.
Classic Sabbath and after many, many years still one of my favourite songs of any genre. My Father had Sabbath Bloody Sabbath on vinyl which we'd listen to occasionally when I was a child. Years later I collected all of the Ozzy era albums and they still get played.
In an Excruciating Way Infested with Vermin and Violated by Executioners Who Practise Incendiarism and Desanctifying the Pious
In an Excruciating Way Infested with Vermin and Violated by Executioners Who Practise Incendiarism and Desanctifying the Pious (2001)
Fucked up doomdeath. I don't listen to this very often. Like a lot of bands not on this list (and a few on it), I have to be in right frame of mind to listen to them without distraction, be it laying down in a dark room or wondering the woods and hills of Cranborne Chase at night. This release still astounds me with its depravity and chaos. A true piece of dark art. Singular, politically incorrect to the max, never intended for the masses or even most 'metaloids'. This is why it is included here.
The Funeral Obsession (1992)
Another blind buy from a London record store back in the early 90's and still a massive favourite of mine. The vinyl has lasted well given how many times it has been spun over the years, at both speeds! I was so disappointed when their album came through Candlelight though. Whatever it was they had on this EP was gone by then. The album production may have helped kill it too. These two tracks... a perfect execution of death metal that sounds like it literally slithered out of a corpse's festering anus while groaning at a full moon, or something. A moment in time, like so many underground classics.