Album Review – Veil of Secrets / Dead Poetry (2020)

Emerging as a result of the contact and joint work between Asgeir Mickelson and Vibeke Stene, this newborn Norwegian Doom Metal unity is ready to darken the skies with their amazing debut effort.

Emerging as a result of the contact and joint work between Asgeir Mickelson, known for having played drums in Borknagar, Ihsahn, Vintersorg and Testament, among others, and the unparalleled Vibeke Stene, known as the singer of Tristania for ten years, in Asgeir’s project called God of Atheists, Norwegian Melodic Doom Metal entity Veil of Secrets has just released their debut opus Dead Poetry, the first official album in 13 years with Vibeke on vocals since Tristania’s Illumination. Produced by Vibeke and Asgeir themselves, mixed by Børge Finstad at Toproom Studio, mastered by Endre Kirkesola at dUb Studio, and featuring guests Sareeta (Ram-Zet, Ásmegin) on violin and Erling Malm (Endolith, Articulus) on harsh vocals, Dead Poetry is everything a fan of Gothic and Doom Metal wants, and a fantastic comeback by Vibeke to the world of heavy music. “After some years with no music production or dissemination, I strongly felt an inner longing to create and feel alive through music. So I started to seek a resolution,” said Vikeke. “I’ve taken the chance to believe that my words, my thoughts, and dreams, could have any value combined with my inner tones. The composing process of ‘Dead Poetry’, was deeply founded on honesty and trust, and therefore I’m very proud to finally share Veil of Secrets.”

Vibeke and Asgeir bring the doom to our hearts form the very first second in The Last Attempt, with our beloved soprano flawlessly declaiming the song’s poetic words (“I kept my promise / The world was unaware / I sheltered in the safest place / And I would not go far away”) while Asgeir pounds his drums with anguish and sorrow and slashes his guitar in great fashion, and  more melancholy and somber passages are offered by the duo in the old school Sear the Fallen, sounding like the early days of Tristania with Asgeir’s own twist, with the grim gnarls by Erling adding an extra dosage of evil to the overall result. Then the stunning violin by Sareeta embellishes the airwaves in the menacing and dense Remorseful Heart, a lesson in Doom Metal infused with melodic and atmospheric elements, all of course spiced up by the razor-edged riffage by the skillful Asgeir and the mesmerizing vocal duet by Vibeke and Erling, whereas acoustic guitars set the tone in the Doom Metal aria The Lie of Her Prosperity, a solid and atmospheric creation by the duo where the drums by Asgeir couldn’t have been more sluggish and grim, and with Vibeke shining as usual with her enfolding vocals.

Heavier and even more doomed than its predecessors thanks to the rumbling bass and fierce beats by Asgeir, Fey is the perfect soundtrack for savoring a dark and bitterly cold night alone, with Vibeke bringing a touch of delicacy and finesse to the heaviness blasted by her bandmate; and you better get ready to be absolutely hypnotized by the crying melody of the violin by Sareeta in Bryd, a lesson in classic Doom Metal with Asgeir being ominous with his riffs and slow and steady drums. Needless to say, Vibeke is sensational with her whimsical voice once again, and the second to last fusion of old school doom with more melodic lines comes in the form of Meson, reminding me of Tristania from their album World of Glass. Furthermore, Asgeir’s piercing guitars make an interesting paradox with his damned beats, with Erling’s demonic roars enhancing the song’s punch considerably. And there’s nothing better than ending such majestic album than with a pure, unfiltered Doom Metal aria spearheaded by Vibeke’s delicate but venomous voice entitled Entirety, flowing smoothly and in the most Stygian way possible thanks to the captivating riffage by Asgeir, with Sareeta’s violin putting a gorgeous ending to the band’s musical voyage.

It’s indeed a true pleasure for any metalhead that enjoys a good amount of melancholy, darkness and sorrow in Gothic and Doom Metal to see the multi-talented Vibeke Stene back in action after so many years, and even better when the final result is an amazing album like Dead Poetry, which is by the way available for a full listen on Spotify and on sale from the band’s own BandCamp page, from the Crime Records webstore in CD and LP format, from Apple Music or from Amazon. In addition, let’s all show our support to Vibeke and Asgeir by following the project on Facebook and on Instagram, thanking Asgeir forever and ever for inspiring Vibeke to return to the metal community, and hoping that Veil of Secrets expand their reach and spread their blackened wings over the entire world with more albums and live performances in a not-so-distant future. In a year that has been nothing but chaos, obscurity and sadness, who could have imagined that one of the best news in the metal community would come in the form of doom?

Best moments of the album: The Last Attempt, Remorseful Heart and Fey.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Crime Records

Track listing
1. The Last Attempt 5:24
2. Sear the Fallen 6:50
3. Remorseful Heart 5:27
4. The Lie of Her Prosperity 6:19
5. Fey 6:32
6. Bryd 4:27
7. Meson 7:02
8. Entirety 6:21

Band members
Vibeke Stene – vocals
Asgeir Mickelson – guitars, bass, drums

Guest musicians
Sareeta – violin
Erling Malm – harsh vocals

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