These Germans are hailing from doom-town Nuremberg and have been around since the year 2000. "The Eternity Itch" is their fourth release and will come as limited vinyl (Halleluja Stoner Records) as well as CD with a stylishly transparent booklet (The Church Within Records). Versus The Stillborn-Minded are not half as awkward as their name suggests, yet positively unwieldy. The ingredients of their sound - raw vocals and a sluggish pace adding up to lengthy songs - may be familiar in the context of sludge metal, but the group add a psychedelic tinge and a considerable amount of changes, both musically as well as mood-wise, to their compositions.
While this does not quite make them progressive in any way, it creates interest and keeps your attention span, which is necessary in particular during the first and last tracks that clock in at ten, respectively twenty minutes. Opener "Cut And (Still) To Be Threshed" swerves from traditional doom lead guitars across Neurosis-like passages to postrock of a kind not unlike the sadly defunct Tephra used to play. Singer Boris is capable of a broad palette of expressions, especially during the closer "Shed!", which also sees Versus The Stillborn-Minded apply a lot of tempo changes alongside spacy synthesizers, reminding this listener of the debut album by Last Chapter from Texas.
The three songs inbetween ("The Ubiquitous Knife In The Sheath", "Before Your Could Say Knife" and "Blood On Parades" being short keyboard interludes, partly also with acoustic guitar) offer almost nicely conventional melodic doom with a voice that screams Danzig at times ("Hidden Pudenda") and a general vibe similar to Revelation or Oversoul's "Seven Days In November". The multi-layered approach to songwriting, as heard most prominently in the playful "Bovine Minds In Motion", attests to this observation. The group has a good grasp on painting images with its music, for example during "Faint Pulse Found", which due to its plodding character indeed makes you think of a metabolism struggling to stay alive.
In The end, you crave for more of this, although the album is not short at all, because of Versus The Stillborn-Minded's original approach and inventive ways of working with the established (i.e. slow, down-tuned heaviness). The apparent concept on which "The Eternity Itch" is based makes this record the more appealing. If you are looking for something else by the wayside, which is not catchy but compelling nevertheless, please look no further than this.
words by Andreas SchiffmannV.T.S-M Facebook page