Label: Everlasting Spew Records
Genre: Death-Doom Metal
Release Date: December 14th, 2018
Ferum is a three-piece group from Italy dealing in filthy death-doom; Vergence is their first release of four original songs and one cover. Everlasting Spew Records is releasing this album, and they have had a really good year, with this sub-genre in particular, so I was interested instantly. Ferum is made up of Samantha, Angelica, and Matteo; Samantha writing all the music which is arranged by the group as a whole, Angelica on the drums, and Matteo on bass. This is a release that had me fairly hyped from the moment a teaser was dropped on YouTube.
Samantha is the head of the band, writing the music, playing guitars, and handling the vocals. The guitars generally find a nice balance between the buzzy Swedish death metal sound and the thicker heavy riffs of early death-doom; alternating back and forth between them as the songs ebb and flow through varying tempos and intensity. Her vocal style is a forceful vomitory growl, not quite guttural, but nevertheless commanding and evil. Though I did find it somewhat distracting at first, this approach grew on me the more I listened and became accustomed to it.
Matteo was the last edition to the band, rounding out the group to a trio and holding down an important feature of a death-doom band’s low-end, the bass. The bass isn’t in your face for much of the release, keeping its part of the bargain by maintaining a menacing aura of heaviness while letting the guitar steer the ship. However, when it does make overt appearances, you are pleasantly greeted by some ugly and slime covered bass lines. My favorite moment of bass work is in Subconscious Annihilation, though still in the background it adds a lot to the sound.
Angelica is in charge of the drums, creating the foundation of this death-doom beast. Across the duration of Vergence the drums remain consistent in their backbone status; holding the guitars and vocals aloft, and not deviating much from their lead. The whole kit is utilized strategically with nothing being overused or entirely absent, which is something many bands in this subgenre often pitch heavily one way or the other. An impressive job is done here within some self-imposed constraints; the drums don’t ever go out on their own, with no fills that don’t directly enhance the guitar, and yet it doesn’t really harm the whole.
Siege of Carnality was the first single to come out, and the bait that drew me right in. A blend of raw death metal aggression and the slow morbid sections of doom was enough to entice my increasingly jaded ears. Instantly struck, as mentioned earlier, by the take on the vocals and how well they fit with this hodgepodge of influences from the subgenre’s stalwarts. Perpetual Distrust was the second single out, and was also the one that made me have to review this EP. Marko Neuman of label-mate Convocation and Dark Buddha Rising fame lends his voice to the aural assault. Once again there is a loving eye on the balance of the doom and raw death sounds melding, as they shift from once section into the next. Funeral, a cover of a song by Cianide, is the strongest song on the release, and a great example of what the album truly is.
Vergence is a love letter to the sub-genre; it is five songs dedicated to the headbanging masses that have dwelled in their dank, dark, and musty basements sharing these filthy tunes for decades. Ferum is the embodiment of this unbridled adoration, and with their weapons sharpened they completely succeed on that front. This album seems a little short-sighted in that respect however; Samantha clearly has the talent and the passion to lay waste to the scene, standing atop the pile, but this EP doesn’t quite rise above a superb homage. Vergence will find a home in any death-doom fan’s collection; I just have high hopes that the next release burns their name into the pantheon.
1. Siege of Carnality
2. Perpetual Distrust
3. Subconscious Annihilation
5. Ed E Subito Sera (Outro)
Total Playing Time: 24:42