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The Meaning Of Isolation

Twilight Vertrieb (2013)
Rating: 8.5/10

I’ve always had a taste for technical death and thrash metal, having grown up with the likes of Despair, Coroner, Obliveon etc., and Verdict – who formed back in 1991 – could well have been part of that scene had it not been for the fact that debut opus Reflections Of Pain didn’t emerge until 2002!

In a sense, these German metallers came at the wrong time, as they would have no doubt slotted in nicely alongside the likes of Coroner – the quintet are clearly skilful technicians who have mastered the craft of cold, precise deathly thrash metal.

The Meaning Of Isolation is the fourth offering from the band, and comes four years after 2009’s impressive Assassin: Nation, and once again we’re treated to another foray into ashen melodic extreme metal which sees Heiko Montkowski replaced by Dave Hadarik on guitar, with Daniel ‘Ratte’ Baptista still responsible for those scything vocals which spout out those socially conscious lyrics.

Verdict most certainly seem at comfort to have played on the same stage as such revered bands as Destruction and Obituary, and if I’m honest it’s these two bands who, if mutated together, could act as the ideal influence for Verdict. That’s not to say that Verdict are a death metal band, far from it, but their sporadic voyages into the murky realms of the late 80s while tinged with mid-90s dynamic hints at a time when death metal, as well as thrash metal, was taking on a more melodic approach to fit in with trend.

When one hears how Kreator, Destruction, Sodom et al, evolved from their early days we can see how Verdict fit in nicely with that type of sound, while the more extreme death metal acts over the years who mellowed from their early surges have also taken on a tighter and colder edge through time.

The Meaning Of Isolation, like those works which preceded it, is a well crafted and extremely solid opus that boasts nine precise compositions that hint at the colder climes which only those special European bands seem to have the ability to ascend.

From the opening rage of ‘Leader Of The Soulless’ to the intensity of ‘Manifest Of Hate’ and via the angst-ridden strains of ‘Killing Fantasies’ and dry-throat rasps of ‘Layer Of Lies’, there’s no doubting this remote plateau which Verdict inhabit is one that suggests arrogant sneers and aloof grins, such is the cold, yet efficient stance of this metallic beast.

Verdict offer a variety of moods and pace all wrapped up in some thermonuclear design that at once drags the listener in, but also alienates in its swagger. The title of the opus seems apt, because although this record is not one to jar or alienate, it has the effect of a snow-ridden night at some base camp hidden in the shadows of iron mountains and rusted shores. In other words, this opus bridges the gap between melodic death metal and hard-edged thrash metal and creates a sound that rises from the landscape like some rabid pylon. Cold steel and savagery combined, Verdict has won me over again.

Neil Arnold

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