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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Vetala - Retarded Necro Demential Hole [Harvest Of Death - 2018]

From time-to-time, black metal bands form into communities or “secret orders”. For example, There’s the Inner Black Circle from Norway, or the French Les Legions Noires. There is something similar in Portugal called The Black Circle. This organization includes the black metal bands such as Mons Veneris, Decrepitude, Irae, Rainha Cólera and the band I'm reviewing today Vetala.

Sadly there is not much information available on Vetala, because the members maintain complete anonymity. The only thing that can be said with confidence is that Vetala is a duet. After releasing their first  Demo in 2007, to date, the band released four demos, twelve split albums, one live album, one EP and three full-length albums.

Vetala’s third full-length album, Retarded Necro Demential Hole, was released in late 2018 by the Portuguese label Harvest Of Death, whose parent label is Signal Rex. The album was released as both LP and tape- these can both picked-up from the labels website. And you can play snippets of the tracks on the labels Soundcloud page.


Retarded Necro Demential Hole, cover is a black and white photo of the bands two members, who are wearing corpsepaint. The musicians make aggressive grimaces. One  has a chain wrapped around his neck, the second shows a middle finger, and holds a bottle in his other hand (I can’t be sure of this, because the quality of the photo was intentionally made very bad). In the upper left corner is the Vetala logo, made in a stylized gothic font. In the lower right corner is the  albums title , written in difficult to read handwritten font. The cover, in spite of the fact it leaned towards classic raw black metal cover-making, didn't seem very serious-  seeming a bit marginal and teenage ...    

The album, with a total duration of just over forty-six minutes, consists of four fairly long nameless tracks. According to the official description of the label, the album is positioned as something vile and unsuitable for listening. So I, frankly, did not know what to expect from the musical part of the album.


The first track lasts just under eight minutes. It begins suddenly as if the recording did not start from the very beginning of the composition. This is a fairly intense track, with several changes in the rhythmic pattern, aggressive squealing distorted vocals and .... the most disgusting recording quilty I’ve ever heard. It seemed that all this was recorded on a cheap household voice recorder. At first, it seemed to me that the guitarist was playing some kind of children's musical instrument or a non-tuned acoustic guitar, and the drummer was using kitchen pans instead of drums. But then, when my ears became accustomed to this crude orgy of sound, I realized that real musical instruments are used here. To be honest, when I  first heard this track I thought it was just a joke or a parody of black metal.

The second track, which lasts almost sixteen minutes, is closer to the black metal sound. At least it seemed to me that the quality of drums and guitars here is a little better. There is even a crude atmospheric vibe here too. As I listened, I began to understand that there is something oddly appealing and interesting in this music, despite the disgusting sound quality and a large number of cacophony moments.

The third untitled track lasts just over eleven minutes. It sounds very similar to the second track. The same raw, primitive semi-acoustic, if I may say so, black metal.

The fourth track, with a duration of eleven and a half minutes, is more similar in sound to the first track. There are much more acoustic elements here. The track ends with a violin improvisation and black metal vocals a-capello.

With Retarded Necro Demential Hole  Vetala recorded one of the most disgusting sounding albums (even by  Raw Black Metal standards) in history. I’d like to tell you more about my impressions of this album. it felt erroneous- seemingly a  joke or parody  , but as I listened more, it turned out to be quite an interesting album. Despite the terrible sound quality, which of course is deliberate, Retarded Necro Demential Hole is a rather complex musical canvas. Frequent changes of rhythm, a large number of acoustic guitar passages, deliberate melodic primitivism, unexpected insertions of elements close to improvisation and avant-garde - all this creates a fairly solid and strong album, whose style I would characterize as Raw Lo-Fi Avant-garde Black Metal. From the closest and most simple description, I 'd say a mix of the early Darkthrone and Abruptum. But such a comparison are rather arbitrary….as Retarded Necro Demential Hole managers to create its own brand of black metal unwell-ness.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Sergey Pakhomov
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