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A Soundtrack Of Vintage Horror - 90%

Aralyon, February 3rd, 2009

Faustcoven- Rising From Below the Earth (BW July ’08)

Rising From Below the Earth was released by the mighty Barbarian Wrath in July of 2008; About half a year later I finally get around to ordering my copy and am taken aback by what I heard on this album. After a first impression it would be easy to compare Faustcoven to an artist like Finland’s Hail but one would be missing a more important dimension of Faustcoven, that being the traditional/doom metal influence of artists like Black Sabbath or Angel Witch which is clearly evident when listening to this album.

Now onto the album itself: Rising From Below the Earth flows like a classic horror novel with each song unfolding like a new chapter unveiling more horrors than the previous. The influence of H.P. Lovecraft coupled with the story telling style of King Diamond cannot be ignored here. In the very first track “At Night They Rise From Below the Earth,” the lyrics read “ In a most profound mystery/the foul hand of fate did illuminate me/ I unearthed texts, I now try to forgot;” If those words aren’t tinged with visions of Lovecraftian Horror then I don’t know what is. A similar style of lyric writing can be found on other tracks such as “A Wickedness Came Upon Them,” and “A Caravan Of Plaguebearers.” As for the influence of King Diamond’s storytelling tactic, it is evident on most tracks throughout the album but possible most visible on “Curse Of the Voodoo Priest” which ironically enough is Gunnar’s tribute to Mercyful Fate.

Musically the album is as versatile as the lyrics are; meaning each track brings a different element so to speak to the table. For example “At Night They Rise From Below the Earth” greats the listener with a haunting guitar intro before one is inundated with the menacing lead guitar work of the song. The track “Barbarian Assault” opens with what sounds like tribal drums introducing the violent attack that this song brings. This wouldn’t be a Faustcoven album if Iommi-esque doom riffs weren’t found somewhere on the album and indeed they are present within “ A Wickedness Came Upon Them” and “In the Court Of Severe Judgement” among others. The Vocals are performed in a low sort of guttural style that really complements the music and atmosphere the album invokes and the drumming only adds to what the guitar and lyrics help establish.

Overall, when listening to Rising From Below The Earth, one is in for a full journey soaked in horror and obscure darkness, which the atmosphere of this album really establishes well. It is clearly evident that serious time and effort went into the making of this album and the result is a very unique release and one of the best that I’ve personally heard in the past couple of years. I hope that future releases will expand upon what has been started here.

Slow and heavy death/doom metal! - 90%

vorfeed, December 19th, 2008

This is the second album from Faustcoven, a Norwegian band playing black/death metal.

The production on this record is deeply murky, with echoing vocals buried beneath a thick layer of fuzzed-out guitars and distorted bass. The drums are audible, but sound a bit distant, as if they hesitate to distract too much from the atmosphere. And what an atmosphere it is! I've rarely encountered an album that's as well-matched by its production.

Faustcoven's last record was slow black metal, but I'd call this one doom/death metal, with just a touch of the first-wave black metal sound they had before. Well, it's extremely heavy METAL, whatever you want to call it! The echo-laden vocals remind me of Necros Christos, but the instrumentation is 100% unique -- this band eschews speed and conventional notions of catchiness in favor of layered, doomy riffs and a twisted sense of oblique melody. The atomsphere of lumbering, oppressive, inevitable death on this record is sublime, a great combination for the deeply Satanic lyrics. Thus, "At Night They Rise From Below the Earth", an eleven-minute dirge with lyrics which conjure a Lovecraftian atmosphere of hopelessness and forbidden knowledge, is the perfect opening track for this record. "In The Court of Severe Judgement" is the perfect closer, too, and is one of the few tracks I've ever heard that shatters the lie of Christianity using nothing but its own debased terms. Between the two lie battle, zombies, the winged messenger of Hell, an encrypted tribute to good whisky, and an excellent cover of Angel Witch's classic "Baphomet", among others -- what more can you ask for?

Intelligent lyrics, unique riffs, excellent cover & booket artwork, and over an hour of atmospheric immersion make "Rising From Below the Earth" a strong contender for best-of-2008. Those who like bassy, mid-paced metal will be well-pleased by this one; I love both, so this record earns my highest recommendations.

Standout tracks: "At Night They Rise From Below the Earth", "Barbarian Assault", "Onward to the Bloodfields", "In The Court of Severe Judgement"

Review by vorfeed: