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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.