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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?
originally posted at http://curseofthegreatwhiteelephant.blogspot.com/
“…Reverence of inhumanity… Irreverent disgust of holiness, towering cenotaph of demoncy. Pall of black divinity…”
The previous album of Father Befouled, “Morbid Destitution of Covenant”, was truly an exceptional offering of darkness and abhorrence towards the divine, all dressed in some of the most massive and heavy sounds that the death metal scene has spawned ever since “Onwards to Golgotha” was released. So you must understand that I just had to have great expectations for “Revulsion of Seraphic Grace”, which is already a third full length album from this exceptional, Chicago based band. And I dare to say that Father Befouled did not disappoint and yet again delivered a stunning dose of their obscure music. The vinyl looks truly impressive, I must say, the cover artwork is just as blasphemous as it can only get and there’s really nothing more to desire there (the LP includes a huge poster with the album’s cover).
To describe the sound of “Revulsion of Seraphic Grace” I guess I would just need to use pretty much the same words, which I have already used when I was reviewing “Morbid Destitution of Covenant”. Both albums are really similar and “Revulsion…” definitely continues the style, which Father Befouled has been developing on their previous recordings. To some point that may even sound like they’re repeating themselves, as basically the difference between both albums is very slim, if there is one at all. But I guess sometimes there’s no need to change the winning formula, if you know that everything works well and the maniacs appreciate your music. In case of Father Befouled I definitely wouldn’t wish them to change too drastically, so if “Revulsion…” sounds almost exactly like “Morbid Destitution…”, then it’s fine, as both albums are great and these mammoth riffs, which Father Befouled plays, are always killer.
What I always liked most about the music of Father Befouled is the atmosphere, which they create. I really mean that, but when you listen to it, then you just think of such words as utter darkness, abhorrence, profanation, it almost feels like participating in some kind of ritual of desecration, as the music really has “religious” feeling, but in the sacrilegious meaning of this term. Well, just read the lyrics and such lines as “a mockery of heavenly communion…”, “inveigle and suffocate the holiest words…”... The heaviness of this music is overwhelming. While listening to it, you just feel like the sounds were slowly crushing you and I can compare it to being in a room, whose walls are slowly and slowly coming together, making less and less space for you, so you know that finally they’ll squeeze you and you’ll die in terrible agony. But what other feelings may accompany you, when something as doomy and agonising as “Triumvirate of Liturgical Desecration” resounds? This is a true soundtrack to apocalypse, an experience, which you’ll either find as too suffocating and too monotonous or you will let yourself be dragged into these catacombs, where the band performs their rituals and join them in communion. The “love it or hate it” thing is usually pretty difficult to review, I must admit. You immediately put yourself on one of the two sides, but whatever you’ll write you must remember that there can be many people, who simply won’t agree with you. Not that I care, but being as objective as I only can I must say that I really like “Revulsion of Seraphic Grace” and just as I worshipped Encoffination, I also worship this album. But unlike the Encoffination stuff, which is slow in its entirety, Father Befouled makes sure that their “Onward to Golgotha” influence is not only based on creepy, doomy riffs and with such tracks as “Indulgence of Abhorrent Prophecies” and “Devourment of Piety” they also incorporate a lot of fast parts, which are also as heavy as death metal can only get. Forget though about the technical show off or hiper blasting in the modern death metal style. Father Befouled plays like it was 1990 and what’s more – they’re good at it.
It must be said that with this sort of death metal, where the playing is so utterly heavy and gloomy, without any additional instruments, without any extras, but where the whole is based on brutal, either slow or fast, but always powerful riff and deep, demonic growl, it is easy to start to eat your own tail, repeat yourself and become just boring. Luckily Father Befouled managed to avoid that and “Revulsion of Seraphic Grace” is their triumph. This band, like not many others, has played this sort of death metal in the rightful way and with passion, so I must definitely recommend Father Befouled to all of you, who’re into the early Incantation and who also like some of the other, present bands, of this style, like Encoffination, Disma or Dead Congregation.
Standout tracks: “Indulgence of Abhorrent Prophecies”, “Triumvirate of Liturgical Desecration”
Early into my ventures into death metal, I stumbled across Father Befouled‘s debut full length album Obscurus Nex Cultus, which I have to say was really not to my liking. The style of death metal that was present on the band’s debut was considered too chaotic, and too obscure for my tastes then, and it felt as though the band were unclear about the direction that they wanted to go with that album. The follow up album, Morbid Destitution of Covenant, was an instant hit for me, not only due to my by-then increased exposure to extreme metal genres, but also with the tighter and more focussed sound that Father Befouled had crafted by then. This year sees the band releasing their third full length album, and their debut full length release on Dark Descent Records, Revulsion of Seraphic Grace.
It doesn’t take long for one to realise that Revulsion of Seraphic Grace follows in the style that Father Befouled had set with Morbid Destitution of Covenant, with the heavy Incantation influence that can be noted right from the beginning of the record. The heavy and ominous atmosphere, along with the trem-picked riffs and Ghoat’s low growls are all reminiscent of fellow old-school, Incantation-styled death metal bands like Ignivomous and Witchrist, and the music on Revulsion of Seraphic Grace is sure to please those craving for a serving of relentless and crushing death metal. The music on Revulsion of Seraphic Grace though, is nothing particularly technical as one would soon come to realise, with not a single moment on the record used for the unnecessary display of technical wankery of the individual musicians, and perhaps one of the few moments with real lead guitar segments being on Impetus to Angelic Descension; rather, the focus is on the entire listening experience, and the pure evil that seeps out of the band and their music.
As though the music itself weren’t crushing enough, the atmosphere throughout the album often comes across as sinister and evil, and this certainly fits the blasphemous lyrics and merciless music that is present on Revulsion of Seraphic Grace. Unlike many modern death metal releases, Revulsion of Seraphic Grace is not a complete speed fest. On the faster moments on the album, there is such a sense of urgency that there isn’t a single moment for the listener to catch a breather, yet on the slower moments, there is such a strong sense of unease as well, leaving the listener struggling to breathe under the suffocating pressure and tension that is in the music. And it is on these painfully slow moments when one almost feels as though the band were intentionally crushing the listener slowly, but surely. The alternating between such commanding and oppressive atmosphere in the music reminds listeners of bands like Impetuous Ritual, and often leaves the listener not really knowing what to expect next.
Like its predecessors, Revulsion of Seraphic Grace doesn’t drag on for too long, lasting a mere 36 minutes, and this is the only complaint that I have, being much too small a dose to really satisfy the craving that Father Befouled has started with this release. Apart from that though, Revulsion of Seraphic Grace is one hell of a release, and fans of Father Befouled‘s work thus far would definitely get hooked on this instantly.