With a radical expanse of subtlety, Verma’s latest, “MUL.APIN” (out now on the ever-reliable Trouble In Mind Records) is an utterly engrossing album, leaving an indelible impression, serving as a crystallized image of the band’s colossal creativity.
Verma – long masters of the motorik, well-praised as wizards of space rock both epic and anthemic – couldn’t be accused of anything so simple as a “reinvention” on “MUL.APIN.” The pieces of this album’s puzzle have always been present in Verma-land, though they’ve never manifested in quite this way.
Opener “Nerebu/Overture” lays the foundation, serving as a pulsing prelude to the album’s infinite layers of wordless wisdom, molten lava atomically diffused through amplification and cooled to obsidian. “Elil.Sa.Ursag/Hero’s Theme” propels the beat to prime position for the first time, but as the final minute drones and fades, giving way to its mesmerizing sister-song, “Irhandi/Sorcerer,” it’s clear that whatever spell Verma is under won’t be broken any time soon. The culmination of “MUL.APIN” is the Side-B-spanning “Gal.Damhara/Last Battle,” nearly sixteen minutes of aching enchantment, the sound somewhere in-between J.D. Emmanual and, say, “Somewhere In Time”-era Maiden buried in volcanic ash. Wasted years or not, there’s not a wasted moment across Verma’s latest.
“MUL.APIN” is a deeply dramatic album, a stellar, slow burn synth séance whose sonic palette finds color in a hazy hue that’s less draining than despair, less illusory than optimism. “MUL.APIN” is in some ways the sound of the stoic observer to the cosmic void, the soundtrack to stargazing while standing in the middle of a deep, ceaseless grey winter wind whipping through the pines. Yet the beating heart of Verma pulses firmly, if often faintly, throughout the album’s monolithic thirty-six minutes. The effect is something like catching an unexpected amber glow at the very edge of the horizon, a light that may (or may not) signal the end of a desolate road – “Keep a little fire burning, however small, however hidden.” Highest possible recommendation.
“MUL.APIN” is out now on Trouble In Mind Records.
“For a barrier could only arise from association with the past or expectation of the future. So the present moment has no barriers at all. And then he finds there is a tremendous energy in him, a tremendous strength to practice patience. He becomes like a warrior. When a warrior goes to [a spiritual; not physical] war, he does not think of the past or his previous experience of war, nor does he think of the consequences for the future; he just sails through it and fights, and that is the right way to be a warrior. Similarly, when there is a tremendous conflict going on, one has to develop this energy combined with patience. And this is known as right patience with the all-seeing eye, patience with clarity.” – Chogyam Trungpa, “Meditation in Action“