So let’s go ahead and harp on this point again, and for the second day in a row. There’s a reason that people clamor for music they refer to as “real death metal.” It’s right there in the title: death. What about that is supposed to be slick, uplifting, catchy, and shiny? It’s death. It’s the end of all things. That isn’t supposed to be a particularly happy time, and many of us don’t care for our death metal to make us feel exuberant and pumped up.
That’s why I take a particularly morbid fascination with bands such as Encoffination, a group that sounds like it is the musical embodiment of death, the cessation of life. Their music is slow, drubbing, torturous, and sounds like it is one step away from shutting its eyes artistically for the final time. Nothing about it feels good or will get you jumping up and down like an idiot at a live show. You should be depressed, have darkened feelings that cannot be saved, and see only the worst in the music you are hearing. That’s exactly what you get with Encoffination and their suffocating third album “III – Hear Me O’ Death (Sing Thou Wretched Choirs).” That mouthful of a title alone should clue you into this being a dreary, miserable experience, and if that’s what you’re into, you won’t have a perversely worse time this year. Uh, in a good way. It’s the glorification of death, and that requires an abyss such as this.
Encoffination is the work of two horrific souls, that being guitarist/bassist/vocalist Ghoat and drummer Elektrokutioner. Both men also play together in Father Befouled and also dot the lineups of countless bands including Beyond Hell, Chasm of Nis, Vomitchapel, and Howling. Ever since their arrival at this point in their journeys in 2008, they’ve been drumming up doom-blasted death metal that crawls painfully and scornfully, taking its time to spread its pestilence to ensure it has covered every inch of their battleground. From their 2010 debut “Ritual Ascension Beyond Flesh,” to their sophomore effort “O Hell, Shine in Thy Whited Sepulchres” a year later, to now, they’ve been making noise that fans of band such as Incantation, Mournful Congregation, Grave Upheaval, and Impetuous Ritual should find disturbing and strangely satisfying.
Opening hymn “Processional – Opvs Thanatalogia” begins the record perfectly, with doom bells chiming, throaty chants beginning to unleash the horror of it all, and the sounds of panic that lead into “Charnel Bowels of a Putrescent Earth.” The song is as disgusting as its title indicates, with the bells carrying over, a pulverizingly slow death march pushing forward, and infernal growls that sound voiced by a demon. There are hints of melodies, as morbid as you can imagine, and the song keeps spinning and scraping zombie-like all the way to its finish. “Cemeteries of Purgation” opens with deliberate drumming and guitars that are heated until they boil over. The vocals lurch from Ghoat’s mouth, with the pace remaining a death crawl, with trails of blood and ooze left behind it. The track keeps hulking and crushing, with the growls eventually turning to pained moans, sounding like those of a mortally wounded soul. “Crowned Icons” keeps the tempo where it’s been the entire record, and eerie noises give way to a drum beats that push a little harder and sweltering, damaged guitar work. There are some interesting moments toward the end, as the fellows play with some different sounds, but for the most part, it’s a beating rendered until submission.
“Rotting Immemorial” has an ugly, retching open, as it pulls you into the fog and toward further defacement. The guitars bleed and trickle all over the ground, leaving a real mess, and doomy hell erupts later and brings everything to a painfully slow ending. “From His Holy Cup, Drink; Come Death” runs 9:29, and it’s the first of a concluding triptych of songs that stretches across the record’s final half hour. Doom-encrusted smothering begins immediately, with the guitars simmering over top, the pace reaching slightly more animated levels, and the growls gurgling in a pool of nearly congealed blood. “Pale Voices” goes 8:44, and the drumming takes the grip from the start, setting the pace for the song and bursting through barriers. The vocals again sound pained and barely gasping at air, while the guitars are more frenzied and dizzying, with the drums setting a militaristic atmosphere. This thing just squeezes and squeezes until you have no more air in your lungs. The 10:28-long closer “Mould of Abandonment” is situated in another deep puddle of doom, with bendy and weird guitar lines strung about, vocals that sludge along like they’re dying, and filth choking out every living thing in sight. There are solemn, dark guitar melodies that arise toward the last half of the cut, with the music quivering, the tempo suffocating, and the final words croaked out before it all comes to a devastating end.
Horrifying, depressing, and clubbing, Encoffination cure what ails those who thirst for true death metal, with the emphasis on the decay and misery. Three albums in, these guys have proved to be one of the ugliest representatives of the genre, a band that remember the spirit and point of this music in the first place. “III – Hear Me O’ Death (Sing Thou Wretched Choirs)” won’t make you feel good on a Saturday night or be the fodder for silly arm swinging in the put, but it certainly delivers morbidity in crushing servings that most other bands can’t equal.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/templeofencoffinment
To buy the album, go here: http://selfmadegod.com/en/shop
For more on the label, go here: http://selfmadegod.com/