Verdun blends driving rock guitar and drums with ethereal vocals and tastefully applied Asian elements. Guitarist Neal Barnard and drummer Mike Stetina lay down churning undercurrents, often in jolting 7/4 or 11/4 rhythms, while singers Martha Roebuck from Virginia Beach, VA, and Ngọc Hoàng from Saigon, Vietnam, add strikingly beautiful vocal lines. With Martha singing in English and Ngọc in Vietnamese, the music blends with dreamlike logic.

The band’s take on Purple Haze is soulful and dramatic. The group’s moody signature piece, Dream of the Black Horse, grew out of an ancient Vietnamese song, but is heavy on jungle-like drums and percussive guitar, bringing in the original Asian instruments in the middle section. The compositions are arty and original, varying between dissonance and simple beauty.

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