Artist: Father Befouled / Helcaraxe
Album Title: Ruination of the Heavenly Communion
Label: Enucleation Records
This is a split LP from Father Befouled and Helcaraxe, two American bands playing death metal.
Father Befouled play sludgy death metal in the tradition of Incantation, with an emphasis on bizarre riffs and sick, choking atmosphere. These are the best songs they've written so far, especially "Propagation of Absolute Impiety", which perfectly balances the slow parts with some killer blasting sections. The insane, drawn-out riffing on "Orthodoxy of Primeval Ascension" is also noteworthy: even the fast parts of this sound doomy and oppressive, thanks to the careful guitar lines and liberal use of bass. "Idolatry of Cursed Revelation" is another slow one, whereas "Profane Heavenly Crypt" has a more experimental structure in which a solid, mid-paced tempo perfect for headbanging is tossed into a blender with a back-masked choir, feedback, and a few insane breaks... the perfect way to close this side of the record.
Helcaraxe play melodic, bass-heavy death metal with a heavy-metal touch. Again, their songs for this record are probably the best they've ever done; the extra heaviness in the production really lends these tracks extra punch, as does the nimble riffing and aggressive vocals. As usual, the band alternates between short tracks (like "Liturgy of the Eucharist" and "Roar of a Morbid God", which each pack more into two minutes than most bands do in six) and more epic songs. "Agonizing Death" keeps things mid-paced, with some neat jangling bass lines and a shredding solo or two. The vocals on "Helm of Awe" deserve special mention; the emotion on this song is exceptional! That plus the crunchy rhythm guitar part makes this one stand out. "Putrid Remains" spits on Christianity one last time, with a catchy main theme and some intelligently blasphemous lyrics. The band closes with a solid cover of "Sign From the North Side" off "The Karelian Isthmus".
This is a bit like finally hearing the famed Incantation/Amorphis split... it's wonderful to see two very solid (and very different!) bands contributing to a single record like this. I can't think of much from the past few years I'd recommend over this; if either of these styles interests you, pick this record up and I'm sure you'll enjoy the other side as well. Highest recommendations.
Standout Tracks: "Propagation of Absolute Impiety", "Orthodoxy of Primeval Ascension", "Profane Heavenly Crypt"; "Helm of Awe", "Roar of a Morbis God", "Putrid Remains"