Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dominus Xul- To The Glory Of The Ancient Ones(2011)

Dominus Xul- To The Glory Of The Ancient Ones

There is something to be said for doing something first, or in the case of Dominus Xul, doing something second first. Well before every other band on the planet was worshiping Incantation, Dominus Xul released The Primigeni Xul(I Condemn My Enemies) all the way back in 1998. In many ways, they were the first Incantation worship band, so it makes perfect sense for the band to reform in 2011, the Year of Incantation, and release their first new material in 13 years with To The Glory Of The Ancient Ones. And just like their first release, To The Glory Of The Ancient Ones is a slab of rock solid, professionally played Incantation love.

To the untrained listener, it might be impossible to tell the difference between a Dominus Xul track and an Incantation track, as all the hallmarks are here: cavernous, demonic riffing, a sense of Doom-laden dread, Satanic aesthetic, and the fantastic vocal performance of Caludio Salinas, who does one of the finest and most powerful Craig Pillard impersonations I have heard in a long time. The somewhat clean and clear production is curious, and is really the only thing that stands out about this album. It really isn't too much of a hinderence to the quality of the work, it just isn't the norm right now and makes an impression. It all adds up to rock solid and well played Occult Death Metal that is all the rage right now amongst the elite of the Death Metal crowd.

Which begs the question: how much longer will this sound retain it's dominance? I hate a debate with a acquaintance of mine: I say the whole thing really kicked into gear back in 2008 with Dead Congregation's Grave of the Archangels. He said the fad started a few years earlier in 2005 with, sure enough, Dead Congregation's Purifying Consecrated Ground. Regardless, the reign of Tech and Brutal Death Metal as the choice of the elite Death Metal fan has been over for a few years, and the static choked offerings of bands like Vasaeleth, Encoffination, Father Befouled and countless other acts are what the "in" kids are listening to. But how much longer before all this worship wears thin? Before another band takes Incantation's place as the Demigod of Death Metal?

Dominus Xul are clearly cashing in now and striking while the iron is hot, and To The Glory Of The Ancient Ones feels right at home amongst the endless sea of Golgotha's. It is played with much more professionalism, experience and conceptual strength than many of the new worshipers on the block, but worship it remains. How much enjoyment you get from this will be based on how much you love Incantation, and as an unabashed fan of the might New York Masters, To The Glory Of The Ancient Ones tickles all the right nerves, if even only in the fleeting sense.

Rating: 7/10

Decrepitaph- Profane Doctrines Unburied(2011)

Decrepitaph- Profane Doctrines Unburied

Like the ash laden dust of long lost tombs getting caught in a frozen wind, Decrepitaph come crawling from the caves of the long dead, bringing with them the delights of the rotted and suffering deceased. Profane Doctrines Unburied is a suffocating miasma of lost and angry spirits hitting with the full force of the demons that terrorize their every un-living moment. Few albums this year, or ever for that matter, are so skull crushingly heavy and loaded with suffering. This California two-piece of Sinworm and Elektrokutioner(already too brutal for most people) have been summoning the undead of old school DeathDoom at a blistering rate, with three full lengths and a dozen or so demos , EPs and Splits since their horrendous creation in 2005, and all this practice has paid off with Profane Doctrines Unburied.

The production is the thing that stands out the most, in that everything sounds musty, old and decrepit. The guitar tone is incredibly thick and choked with distortion, and the stumbling pace of the bowl rumbling bass remind one of the shuffling steps of a monstrous undead abomination. The bass drum sounds like it is made of freshly butchered meat: a wet thump of a hammer coming down onto the brain cavity of a hapless victim. This attention to detail is impressive, and the songwriting takes maximum advantage of the sound of the album. Each track is written like the slow, deliberate steps of the undead: with a flesh devouring purpose. Only occasionally, like the opening flurry of "Convulse In Eternal Agony," to things speed up somewhat. But expect no blast-beats here: heavy influenced by the sounds of Finnish DeathDoom, Profane Doctrines Unburied takes its time to inflict its damage on your soul and ear drums. The solo work is also fantastic: off-kilter, sloppy and with a guitar sound as close to a wailing banshee as you have ever heard, the solos are creepy and used to brilliant effect, particularly on the song "A Suffocating Evil."

It is hard not to be massively impressed with Profane Doctrines Unbruied. While it won't win any awards for originality or inventiveness, the album is incredibly polished and focused: Decrepitaph know exactly what they want to do and implement their ideas to almost complete perfection. The occasional dragging song length or over-use of riffs is a small price to pay for the near perfection that Profane Doctrines Unburied gives the listener. If the dead rise in our lifetime, this will be the Clarion Call that leads them on their endless rampage for flesh and freedom from their pain.

Rating: 9/10