Non Compos Mentis – A Review of Vetala’s ‘Retarded Necro Demential Hole’

“This album REALLY isn’t for you!”

So exclaims the press release for twisted Portuguese duo Vetala‘s long-awaited third album Retarded Necro Demential Hole, and it is one hundred percent correct. This album is not for you. This album really isn’t for anyone at all. It shouldn’t exist… and that’s perhaps why it does.

If you have the misfortune of being unfamiliar with the considerable discography the primitive pair have amassed over their decade of hideous existence, the terrors they conjure have arguably always gone further into deranged foulness than the other LLN-esque entities that have comprised the Black Circle (Mons Veneris, Irae, Rainha Colera and Decrepitude for those playing at home) ever have; but this time and moreso than ever they present like the fumblings of a handicapped child and the wretched howlings of the mentally insane. It’s even difficult to accurately describe – this is black metal finally deconstructed to the point of a gibbering mess, drooling and screaming uncontrollably, and probably pissing all over itself at the same time. Sound interesting? It is, if you can handle it. Over the course of the forty or so minutes of audio carnage they weave drunkenly / like someone not in complete mental control of their faculties between moments of genius, raging clarity and incomprehensible madness; creating compositions not able to be fully understood by anyone of their right mind.

Each of the four tracks are untitled, but I’ve never heard a more fitting album title in my life. Imagine for a moment what a ‘retarded necro demential hole’ would sound like and you’re probably bang on the money. They vomit, shriek, rage and channel all manner of babbling spirits from both black metal past and nameless horrors present. Clattering drums blast and collapse while riffs-that-should-not-be tumble in from alternate dimensions and strangled violin scrapes flesh from bone; it’s a total satanic noise-fuck. Interestingly enough, I think this album may have my favourite production values they’ve ever utilised too. Primal and obscure in all the right / wrong ways.

Now, I know those familiar with Vetala could be reading this and thinking “yeah, yeah. It all sounds like business as usual”, but they really have somehow gone further into malformed territories than ever before. And what’s more, they fucking revel in it. From a band that’s always blazed their own path of darkness they’ve clawed frenziedly down to all new depths of depravity, and it is a true (possibly masochistic) pleasure to listen to black metal that just does not give a fuck. It exists only as an anti-everything. Shit, it may even be anti-black metal.

This could be the worst album of 2018. I absolutely love it. Glorious.

Listen to the untitled second track below. Releases December 25th through Harvest Of Death / Signal Rex.

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