Cosmic Putrefaction – Crepuscular Dirge for the Blessed Ones Review

“Crepuscular”—relating to twilight, the time just before the sun’s rising and setting. Ripe for artistic exploitation. Whether symbolically as a precipice of change, or literally through reference to a mysterious, even magical aura. Crepuscular Dirge for the Blessed Ones depicts the approach of one such portentous moment, as the character whose journey began in The Horizons Towards Which Splendour Withers (2020) comes to a profound existential truth. To tell his tale, sole member Gabriele Gramaglia has enlisted drummer Giulio Galati (Hideous Divinity, Nanga Parbat) and vocalist Riccardo Nioin (Vertebra Atlantis), and shifted slightly towards the more atmospheric with the now noticeable presence of synths and distorted melodic lines woven into the dissonant death metal canvas. Also a part of underground phenomena Vertebra Atlantis and Turris Eburnea, Gabriele’s output to time ratio is staggeringly high. So is the quality thus far. Does Cosmic Putrefaction’s third LP continue this winning streak, or does he need to take a break?

Crepuscular Dirge…is ardent, maniacal, but calculated. Stomach-churning tempo changes and arpeggios recede to stable blastbeats or mid-tempo marching just in time. Dissonant at the best of times, the only melody that rears its head is eerie, whining, played either on heavily accented guitar (“Sol’s Upheaval Debris”) or synth (“Lysergic Sulfuric Waters”). Yet you’re grateful for it as a clear thread through the tumultuous mire. Cosmic Putrefaction use repetition just enough to create a meaningful tonal through line that remains engagingly unpredictable. Iterated descending riffs (“From Resounding Silence to the Obsidian Womb”) and restless rhythmic patterns (“Twisting Spirals in the Murk”) are hypnotic but gripping thanks to their tuneless directness. Contrastively, the reiteration of melody (“Sol’s Upheaval Debris,” “Cradle Wrecked, Curtains Unfurled”) of those sinister and mournful refrains breathes a stirring atmosphere throughout.

The complexity with which Cosmic Putrefaction craft their art makes Crepuscular Dirge…suitably tangled and involuted for music of its ilk. This grounds its intrigue just as it draws its circle of potential acolytes narrower around itself. “Amniotic Bewilderment” and “Twisting Spirals in the Murk” seem to take particular joy in misleading the listener with bizarrely layered synth notes, spoken word, and sudden, screeching guitar lines. Weird it most certainly is, but it’s oddly captivating—if you give it your attention. But the strangeness is often more obviously alluring, as “From Resounding Silence to the Obsidian Womb” and “Cradle Wrecked, Curtains Unfurled” epitomize. Their gradually manifested synth; the former’s fade to silence and lurching resumption; and the latter’s yearning key and guitar refrain. At turns uncannily alluring and unsettlingly terrifying. Half-instrumental closing (title) track is another instance of expert abnormality, vocals and drums muffled by pulsating distortion; led by weird, eerie notes.

Given enough listens, Crepuscular Dirge…unfurls, and its subtleties and idiosyncrasies come into focus; like an auditory magic eye. Up to this point, however, the music can seem more like a gordian knot of clustered sounds. In particular certain exceptionally convoluted passages of schizophrenic dissonance and complexity (“Sol’s Upheaval Debris,” “Amniotic Bewilderment”). While this comes with the territory, the presence of aforementioned memorable weirdness or beauty not only makes sections more palatable but also deepens the overall sound. Having more signposts, more moments of payoff would help elevate the music further in granting it a more immediate potency. The greater emphasis on electronic arrangements and ethereal and sinister distortion nonetheless makes this a stronger album than its predecessor and foreshadows an evolution to come into a truly unique brand of dissodeath.

With its unsettling timbres, unusual usage of synth, and twisting technicalities, Crepuscular Dirge…stands pretty well heads and shoulders above the death metal scene. Taking the tunnelling dissonance of Turris Eburnea, and the helter-skelter tendencies of Vertebra Atlantis, this act remains something of its own. It’s possibly the most interesting of the three. The twilight in question is clearly the one preceding the day. Cosmic Putrefaction are just getting started.

Rating: Very Good
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Profound Lore Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: May 6th, 2022

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