Father Befouled – Crowned In Veneficum

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Father Befouled has firmly established itself in a niche for the obscure death metal style. Having formed in 2006, the Atlanta quartet released four albums that would set the eerie and darken concoction that is their sound. Mastermind Justin Stubbs (vocals, guitars, synth), Derrik Goulding (guitars), Rhys Spencer (bass), and Amos Rifkin (drums) continue to deliver their oppressive brand of nebulous death metal. Those who like their music draped in murky darkness rest assured, because their fifth album “Crowned In Veneficum” is a grisly embodiment sculptured by down-tuned guitars and pulverizing drum attacks.

While many fans see their songs having an affinity with death/doom and old school death metal, the Atlanta quartet emphasizes the dreadful atmosphere with ambiance created by the guitars. These elements still work their magic throughout the seven songs of the album, Justin Stubbs provides his drenched-reverb growling adding thick layers to churning gloomy riffs. The major influence from bands like Incantation still has its primary effect on the songwriting that has gradually cemented the band’s sound. “Crowned In Veneficum” somehow feels empowered by the unsettling brutality and with such brute force comes the riffing that provides a real menace, there is no question about the filthiness and the characteristic guitar patterns that make such music so evil and recognizable.

There is a brutal tone of oppressive barrage of concentrated guitar riffs and blasting drums on the album’s opener “Unheavenly Catechesis” that captures the tonality of early Incantation, with the stomping dirges of death/doom sections are embedded in the mid-tempo Father Befouled demonstrate its sheer power. The blasphemous imagery of inverted crucifix and bonfire immediately strikes the listener relentlessly with the direct drum attacks and double bass. Dense infested riffs bring vast experience to the cavernous brand of death metal however the clear instrumentation give depth and clarity to the songs.

The growls sound truly menacing although this time Father Befouled makes great use of adding more sludgy guitars which result in creating many brooding moments. The third track “Dethroned Enslavement” perfectly settles in the beastly growls and mid-range tempo. “Crowned In Veneficum” strides through slow menacing passages, bringing the horror and obscurity that seems at once dense and sinister. Every song fits appropriately within the monochromatic domain of cavernous death metal, suffice to say that the instrumental cut “His Throne Decayed” offers something unsettling before the sinister guitar riffs become brutal and the pulverizing drums crushes like a hammer of doom later on “Miasmas Of Sodom”. The slow grinding drums build up to a somewhat sluggish pace where the filthy infested riffs upped the pace.

Despite the short duration of the album that spans for a bit over thirty minutes, Father Befouled prefers to cut it straight and succinctly to the point without any kind of unnecessary fillers. The high accuracy of the guitar department and the drums beckoning in aggression and brutality. For example “Katabatic Deliverance” is packed with belching growls and the churning tremolos stream underneath the drums. Musically, the fifth album is unpredictable despite being murky and putrid, these elements lend a dense and evil tone to the album. “Enlightenment of Torture” has many blasting sections that are charged by fierce drum attacks but amid the clatter of the hammering percussion, the main riff on this track is massively wrought. There is an overwhelming impression of savagery that is being nailed in the wall of sound, also this is one of the fewer songs that focuses on groove.

The two final songs “Euphoria Of Accepted Suffering” and “Utter Abomination” evoke a deep and persisting sense of ambiance that proves that the band is capable of crafting a monolithic slab of brutal death and doom metal. As if the wall of the sound gets narrower slowly by each striking blow of the drums and crawling guitars slowly devour your senses. Whereas the final moment of this track focus on slow tempos Father Befouled wraps the entirety of its album in the eeriest and unearthly closure.

Finally, this is an excellent follow-up to 2017 “Desolate Gods”, my only complaint is that I wish if album included fewer instrumental tracks which to me they feel more like filler otherwise this is a solid album that combines sludgy guitars and brutality and comes as a high recommendation for fans of Dead Congregation and, Incantation.

REVIEW SCORE

  • Music / Songwriting 8/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
  • Mix / Production 9/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 8/10
  • Originality 8/10
8.4

Father Befouled’s “Crowned In Veneficum” is an excellent follow-up to 2017 “Desolate Gods”. This is a solid album that combines sludgy guitars and brutality and comes as a high recommendation for fans of Dead Congregation and Incantation.

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