Father Befouled // Revulsion of Seraphic Grace
Rating: 4.0/5.0 — A wonderful evening out with a satanic serial killer.
Label: Dark Descent Records
Websites: fatherbefouled.com | fatherbefouled.bandcamp.com
Release Dates: June 30th, 2012
Father Befouled have the distinction of creating particularly brutal and blasphemous death metal in a genre already sated with filth. They state that they’re based simply in the United States, with ties to Chicago, IL and Georgia. A prolific band, Father Befouled formed in 2007 and released a demo in 2008; Revulsion of Seraphic Grace is their third full-length, following 2008’s Obscurus Nex Cultus and 2010’s Morbid Destitution of Covenant. They’ve also have released several EPs and splits between albums, constantly pushing their sound and energy. The creative strategy that Father Befouled have employed – to constantly be producing new work – has certainly paid off. Revulsion of Seraphic Grace displays a more cohesive and consistent sound, an improvement over their last full-length released only two years ago. It is clear that the band have a much tighter grasp on their own aesthetic, the strengths and limitations of their genre. It is with this conceptual intelligence and deft creative hand that they now approach Revulsion of Seraphic Grace.
This is old school death metal, thick and reeking, and definitely of American rather than, say, Swedish parentage, so the sound is a bit more sickly and congealed that visceral arterial spray [Translation: Incantation worship – AMG]. Father Befouled are more interested in channelling the rankness of decay than fresh vivisection. The sounds they create are certainly aggressive and violent, but also have a sombre quality to the songs, an almost ceremonial restraint. The pace of the songs alternates between a painful crawl and a bubbling, churning agony. At their fastest and most intense, conjure nothing so much as fire consuming a burst offering, an ugly piece of meat going up in greasy smoke. It’s repellent and filthy and spot on.
The atmosphere of Revulsion of Seraphic Grace is created not only by the dense, oppressive music but also by the production, which is close, crushing and positively smothering, as heavy and humid as a sauna but with none of the healing properties [Also probably some sodomy of Christ – AMG]. J. Stubbs’ growls are also weirdly tight and close, as if he were almost whispering. There is a sense of intimacy of his vocals, but also of profound claustrophobia is his performance as though he were quietly growling into your ear, rank breath on your cheek, a second away from ripping out your jugular. It is intense and oppressive and conveys the sick, wet, smothering feeling. While listening to Revulsion of Seraphic Grace, I kept getting the awful sensation of not being able to draw enough air into my lungs.
Father Befouled have a keen awareness of how this strangling, clutching behemoth of an album can drag the listener around by the throat, and so they don’t belabour the experience. The album is extremely tight and well-edited when it comes to the compositions, and the entire running time is a lean 36 minutes. While the record certainly demands serious endurance and seems hell bent on aurally choking the listener out, they’re also keen enough to know when to stop. Like a clever torturer, they’re not interested in their victims losing consciousness or giving up – they want us to have some fight left in us, to keep flailing and sputtering through to the end. They also know precisely when to break up the unrelenting grind, such as a strangely ebullient and fresh guitar spasm in “Impetus to Angelic Descension,” a song that ends in an equally unexpected psychedelic seizure. Like an executioner wielding a red-hot poker suddenly tossing cold water in your face instead, Father Befouled employ fresh, bracing moments that snaps the listener back to attention
Father Befouled have written a hard album here, there is no question. Revulsion of Seraphic Grace is dense and smothering in style, vile and reeking in content. Not everyone has an appetite for wet ash and molten lead, but if you do: wow, there is something great here. It is a heaving, ugly beast that might be a challenge to ride, but it will carry you through hell if you can stomach it.