Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Putrevore- Macabre Kingdom(2012)

Putrevore- Macabre Kingdom

Late in 2010, I discovered Putrevore's debut album Morphed From Deadbreath, and it was love at fist listen.  Tearing itself from the primordial ooze, drenched in slime and embryonic diffuse, Morphed From Deadbreath was a Precambrian beast to be feared.  Firmly entrenched in the Rottrevore school of down-tuned, gut-bucket brutality, it was a worship album that felt more like an extension of the sound than mere imitation.  Rogga Johansson and Dave Rotten, two titans in their own right, had created the single most impressive love-letters to a sadly under-utilized sound I've ever had the pleasure of being skull-fucked by, and it left me wanting more.

But like all primeval, primordial beasts, evolution must take it's course.  Since we last left Putrevore stewing in a pit of bile and muck, much has changed: the claws have become sharper, the teeth more serrated, the hunting techniques more advanced.  Macabre Kingdom is the definition of a nightmarish predator: massive and hulking indeed, but also in possession of a frightful, instinctual intelligence that sends shivers down one's spine.  Rogga and Rotten have brought their collective experience to the project, writing songs which offer a more diverse pallet of Old-School sensibilities and good ol' American brutality(not bad for a Swede and a Spaniard) than Morphed From Deadbreath.  Rottrevore's trademark sound, revisionist Swedish Death Metal cut free of cheese-tastic melody and guitars tuned to "Black Hole" mixed with strong Proto-Brutal Death Metal elements, remains the core of Putrevore's sound and Macabre Kingdom's devastating assault.  But the two opening tracks, "Mysteries of the Worm Part I and II," give clear indication that this is not more of the same.  Rogga brings his patented Swedish Death Metal vibe to the entire package, but shows a strong understanding of the material by never over-doing it: melody slinks below the torrential riff storms and Rotten's incredible guttural vocal assault, and occasional guitar solos add more to the material than detract from it.  Also present is a healthy dose of Incantation style tremolo picking and Doom-laden devastation, perhaps a bit token for the current era of Death Metal, but executed beautifully here.

That would be more than enough innovation for any band from one album to the next, but Rogga and Rotten must not have been content with even that, and sought to push Putrevore's sound further into new directions.  "Mysteries of the Worm Part II" fit's right in with the modern Occult Death Metal scene, featuring atmospheric keyboards and dark, serpentine riffs that would give Antediluvian nightmares, while "Awaiting Awakening Again" grooves and rumbles like Bolt Thrower and Grave after blowing through two thirty-packs.  Macabre Kingdom doesn't really maintain a consistent tone throughout the album, and instead goes for an all-encompassing view of Death Metal as a whole; it's past and it's present.  There really is something here for everyone, and the fact that Rogga and Rotten can keep the whole album focused and utterly uncompromising over all eight tracks is a monumental achievement.  Rogga has always been known as a "if it ain't broken, don't fix it" kind of guy through his various SwedDeath worship acts, but Macabre Kingdom feels like a coming out party for the gifted guitarist: he deftly and expertly dances between styles and riffs with impressive dexterity and real understanding of the material and the sound.  I never would have guessed that a Putrevore album would be Rogga's most impressive and multifaceted performance, but that's exactly what has happened.  As for Rotten, there is little to be said: this is arguably the most impressive guttural vocal performance on an album since Antti Boman first blew the world's collective dome with his inhuman vocalizations on Nespithe.

I can't imagine Putrevore will remain in the periphery of Death Metal any longer with this release.  Morphed From Deadbreath was brilliant but very niche, as only hardcore fans of the already generally obscure Rottrevore would get much from it.  Macabre Kingdom is truly an appropriate title: the vast appeal of this album will, if justice be served, crown Putrevore as one of the best projects the modern Death Metal scene has to offer.  May they rule with an iron, gory fist.

Rating: 9.5/10

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Father Befouled- Revulsion of Seraphic Grace(2012)

Father Befouled- Revulsion of Seraphic Grace

Whether he is summoning pestilential spirits in Black Funeral, divining the bloody remnants of the unborn in Prosanctus Inferi or merely eviscerating the weak in Father Befouled, Jake Kohn is an easy man to figure out: all brutality and death all the time.  Perhaps not the most breathtaking career, but one that has endeared him to the Ross Bay Cult-types and aging Death Metal fans who still think that Technical Death Metal is killing the genre.  Of all three projects, Father Befouled(which he joined after the band formed) stands out as the most "brass-tacks": while Black Funeral routinely delve into dark, creepy ambiance, and Prosanctus Inferi are so brutal and fast as to be alien, Father Befouled... sound exactly like Incantation.  Revulsion of Seraphic Grace is the bands third full-length album of what essentially amount to Incantation-derivatives, as doomy and subterranean as anything Incantation have released, if not anywhere near as classic or intense.  And in fairness, Father Befouled have never tried to be anything but an Incantation clone.  Artwork, song-titles, lyrics; all none-too-clever nods to the Old New Yorkers and their revolutionary and now endlessly imitated style.  So perhaps it's unfair to judge Revulsion of Seraphic Grace as anything but a worship album, a send up to those ancient monsters whom gave life to many a nightmarish soundscape.  If we judge it on this criteria, then were does it stand?

It stands, but barely.

It's not all on the album: Incantation worship has grown painfully stale at this point.  The market has been thoroughly flooded with albums that sound exactly like this, to the point that it's value and listenability has dropped to almost zero.  I'm personally so sick of Incantation worship, it's starting to make it hard to listen to the real thing.  But even taking Incantation out of the equation and merely comparing Revulsion of Seraphic Grace to previous Father Befouled albums, it still comes off as trite and de-fanged.  Compared to 2010's Morbid Destitution of Covenant, Revulsion sounds positively pussy-footed: the production is the bands cleanest and weakest to date, while the tired and breathy vocals are now loud enough to be annoying rather than scenery.  The songs are also universally slower and LONGER, including the ridiculously boring "Triumvirate of Liturgical Desecration," which crawls like a leper with two broken legs across pine-tar for almost 10 minutes.  Such self-indulgent song length for what amounts to a tribute album is just completely unnecessary and even worse, god-damn boring.  Morbid Destitution of Covenant kept things short and simple, allowing for maximum slaughter at maximum efficiency, which is why it remains a favorite among Incantation-worship albums.  For moments at a time, Revulsion delivers some punishing riffs, but the album begins and ends in a blur of "why bother" which is difficult to shake.

At this point, it's hard to imagine we will get much of anything different from Father Befouled: it's what their fans want and it's what these guys want to play.  The cycle is in place and no one is really interested in breaking it, including me.  Death Metal doesn't get much more dank and rotten than it does on Revulsion of Seraphic Grace, so the question becomes: is dank and rotten enough?  Or more importantly, when does dank and rotten just start to mean it stinks like a dead cat by the roadside?

Rating: 5.5/10

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fuck Computers

So my video card melted.

Having freshly moved in to my brand new shitty apartment, complete with poorly painted walls and doors put in backwards, I endeavored to get my out-dated rig set up and ready for late nights of writing reviews in a drunken stupor.

And then my video card melted.

So as of right now, I'm mostly out of commission until next Friday, aka pay-day.

I shall return.  The Curse lives on.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

So, Who Wants To Come Over And Help Me Move?

Just a quick update to let readers know that I will be away from the blog for a few weeks while I get moved to a new dank, pest-infested pit of unholy suffering... also known as an apartment.  Between moving preparations, school preparations, work and listening to an ungodly amount of Kate Bush, I just don't have the time at this moment to write terrible reviews about Old-Skull Deth Methul bands.  But once I've finished gathering twigs and dead animal furr for my new nest. expect the Curse to be back in full swing.